Stephen Harrison Richards

Mount Desert

Stephen Harrison Richards died peacefully in his sleep on Aug. 4, 2022. He was born on May 7, 1947, in Nashville, Tenn. He grew up in Georgia and Florida, and graduated from Emory University, where he was captain of the swim team. He earned his law degree from the University of Florida School of Law. He was married for 49 years to Judy Cargile Richards, and had two children, Mary Richards and Sal Brann.

Steve was a lawyer, and worked for the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C., for 20 years. He served as general counsel, then as executive vice president and acting president. In 1988, Steve and Judy made a longtime dream come true and bought a house in Seal Harbor. They began spending as much time as possible there, enjoying the natural beauty and making many new friends.

Steve and his family spent 1992 in Moscow, Russia, where he headed the International Red Cross delegation, coordinating international aid and setting up Red Cross and Red Crescent chapters in the new republics of the former Soviet Union. He went on from there to serve as executive vice president of the International Rescue Committee in New York, providing assistance to refugees around the world, and coordinating resettlement programs. In 1998, Steve became president of Elderhostel in Boston, managing education/travel programs for older people. The travel in that job was much more fun than visiting refugee camps.

In 2003, Steve and his family moved to Mount Desert, after 15 years of living there part time. Steve worked for the Maine Seacoast Mission, as director of development. During that time, and after his retirement in 2012, he served in leadership positions on the boards of several nonprofit organizations, including the MDI YMCA, the Mount Desert Nursing Association, Seaside United Church of Christ and Sustainable Harvest International. He loved being part of a small, caring community.

Steve’s friends and family will remember him as a kind and generous person. We valued his intelligence, good judgment and quiet sense of humor. He spent his career in nonprofit management, doing his part to make the world a better place. He loved taking walks in Acadia National Park, playing pickleball, traveling, and spending time with his family. His grandchildren entertained and delighted him. He spent his last months enjoying the beauty of nature and the kindness of his friends and family.

Steve was predeceased by his parents, Edwin and Mary Richards, and his sister, Carol Richards. He is survived by his wife, Judy Richards, his brother Jim Richards (and his wife, Cheryl) of Sanford, Fla., his children Mary Richards (and her partner Nathan Harkins) of Mount Desert and Sal Brann of Ellsworth, and four grandchildren, Lily Walton, Eliza Richards, Blixa Brann and Hunter Harkins.

In Steve’s memory, his family asks that you generously support the causes you believe in and try to enjoy every day. We will have a celebration of Steve’s life on Zoom, and burial will be private.

Know when to pay your respects.