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Obituaries

Former Houston Astros pitcher James Rodney ‘J.R.’ Richard dies at 71

James Rodney “J.R.” Richard was arguably the greatest pitcher of the 1970s and might have been the greatest ever if not for one harrowing event that turned his career, and life, upside down.

Robert P. “Bob” Moses, who crusaded for civil rights and later math education, dies at 86

Robert P. “Bob” Moses, a civil rights activist who was shot at and endured beatings and jail while leading Black voter registration drives in the South during the 1960s and later helped improve minority education in math, died Sunday, July ...

Dr. James Edward Leary, who pastored churches for more than 60 years, dies at 86

Dr. James Edward Leary, who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in civil rights protests in the 1960s and provided pastoral services for 60 years to at least 12 churches in Richmond and other states, died Friday, July 23, ...

Unsung civil rights pioneer Gloria Richardson dies at 99

Gloria Richardson, an influential yet largely unsung civil rights pioneer whose determination not to back down while protesting racial inequality was captured in a photograph as she pushed away the bayonet of a National Guardsman, has died. She was 99.

Educator, counselor Susie Banian succumbs at 82

Susie Ann Banian, a veteran Richmond teacher and guidance counselor who also sang in multiple church and community choirs, has died.

Dr. Thelma Bland Watson, who was dedicated to advancing the needs of the elderly, dies at 70

Dr. Thelma Bland Watson was 9 when she began providing assistance to her maternal grandmother. That experience turned Dr. Watson into a champion for the elderly.

‘Lifeguard legend,’ city swim instructor Horace A. ‘Bubba’ Carter III dies at 81

Horace Alfonso “Bubba” Carter III wanted everyone in Richmond to learn to swim and to be safe doing it.

RPS career educator and principal Fred A. Cooper dies at 91

Fred Adolphus Cooper sought to inspire students to learn during his nearly 60-year career as an educator that included service as principal of Richmond’s former Armstrong-Kennedy High School complex and later as co-owner of a student tutorial business in Chicago.

Eva Davis Brinkley, Armstrong High guidance director, dies at 91

Eva Davis Brinkley went above and beyond for Richmond students at Armstrong High School.

Jim ‘Mudcat’ Grant, one of the first top Black pitchers in MLB, dies at 85

Jim “Mudcat” Grant, who was among the first dominant Black pitchers in Major League Baseball, died Friday, June 11, 2021, in Los Angeles. He was 85.

Former VCU basketball player Dave Edwards dies

In the early 1970s, Virginia Commonwealth University had dreams of going to Division I in basketball. Dave Edwards was among those helping the Rams reach their goal.

Olympian and activist Lee Evans, who took iconic stand at 1968 Mexico City Games, dies at 74

Lee Evans, the record-setting sprinter who wore a black beret in a sign of protest at the 1968 Summer Olympics and then went on to a life of humanitarian work in support of social justice, died Wednesday, May 19, 2021, ...

Actor Clarence Williams III dies at 81

Clarence Williams III, who played the cool undercover cop Linc Hayes on the counterculture series “The Mod Squad” and Prince’s father in “Purple Rain,” died Friday, June 4, 2021, at his home in Los Angeles. He was 81.

Pioneering comic Paul Mooney dies at 79

Paul Mooney, the boundary-pushing comedian who was Richard Pryor’s longtime writing partner and whose bold, incisive musings on racism and American life made him a revered figure in stand-up, died Wednesday, May 19, 2021, at his home in Oakland, Calif., ...

Dr. Victor L. Davis Sr., who led Bethlehem Baptist Church for more than 3 decades, dies at 69

Dr. Victor Lee Davis Sr. had twin careers as a teacher in Richmond Public Schools and as the pastor for nearly 32 years of Bethlehem Baptist Church in the city’s East End.