Gaylord E. Richardson passed away on March 28, 2017, of complications resulting from prostate cancer.
Gaylord was born on March 30, 1936, in Taylorville, Illinois, the son of Vernon G. and Mabel (Richey) Richardson, but he spent most of his early childhood in rural Michigan, a time he remembered with great fondness.
At the age of ten he moved with his family to St. Louis, Missouri, where he would attend Ferguson High School, be voted president of his senior class, and receive a full Ford Motor Company Fund Scholarship to study engineering at the University of Michigan. There, a required course sequence in the humanities inspired him to transfer to Washington University in St. Louis to study architecture.
Gaylord graduated in 1960, and began his career with the firm Bernoudy, Mutrux, and Bauer and later Harris Armstrong in St. Louis. He met a Texas-born Wellesley graduate and high school teacher, Nancy E. Turner, and married her on June 24, 1961. The couple were caught up in the era’s vibrant folk music revival and briefly opened a coffee shop, the Everyman Café, before deciding to seek their fortune in New York City in 1964.
In New York, Gaylord worked as an architect for two prominent firms, Ulrich Franzen and I.M. Pei and Partners. He played a significant role in the design of important building projects such as the World Trade Center in Baltimore, the Alley Theater in Houston, and the Philip Morris Research Laboratory in Richmond, Virginia. While in New York, Gaylord also rented a studio and briefly considered a career as a painter.
Eventually growing weary of the daily stresses of the high-paced urban life, Gaylord returned to Washington University to earn his master’s degree. He accomplished this in 1975, being co-honored as Outstanding Graduate Student in the architecture program. That year, Gaylord accepted a position as Associate Professor with the University of Kansas School of Architecture and Urban Design, and he and his family established their home in Lawrence.
At KU, he was well respected for his work in the classroom, twice nominated for the HOPE Teaching Award, and honored by the Jack and Nancy Bradley Award for Excellence in Teaching upon his retirement in 2009. Along with the traditional architectural course-load, he taught a watercolor class and spent 12 summers directing a study-abroad architecture program near Siena, where he developed a life-long affinity for Italian culture and cuisine.
During his tenure at KU, he served as an expert architectural consultant in several legal cases, including the 9/11 New York City World Trade Center real estate litigation.
Gaylord considered architecture an important art form, and was dedicated to his calling as an architect, to the craft of teaching, and to the mission of the university as an educational institution.
Upon settling in Kansas, Gaylord also rediscovered a love for the outdoors, becoming an ardent sportsman and devotee of hunting and fishing. He was an excellent shot and a talented tyer of fishing flies, a craft he became enamored with in mid-life.
An active member of the Free State Fly Fishers, he became an enthusiastic post-retirement participant in their regular fly-tying get-togethers. Up to the very end of his life he scheduled trips with good friends to his favorite fishing spots in Bennett Springs, Missouri, and on the White River in Arkansas.
Gaylord took great pleasure in many things: his children and grandchildren, the principles and practice of architecture and design, swapping fish stories with his buddies over a bottle of beer, a bracing walk in the fields with his beloved Brittany spaniels, a tasty self-caught trout dinner, a long chat with his brother, rooting on the Royals and Jayhawks, poetry and music, a good bargain, and an overlooked treasure.
A big man with a soft heart, Gaylord was full of life, interested and passionate, devoted to his profession and his pursuits, his family, and the company of close friends. His life was not lived passively, but instead with an intense intellectual curiosity and a brave and restless energy. He was a loyal, considerate brother and friend, a steadfast husband, and a loving and solicitous father and grandfather. His absence will be felt deeply and lastingly by those who were close to him.
Gaylord was preceded in death by his wife Nancy, who passed away after a long bout with cancer in 2013. He is survived by his daughter, Paula E.E. Richardson of Lawrence and her partner Michael Hamm; his son, Aaron J. B. Richardson and daughter-in-law, Debra Kaufman, of Berkeley, California; and his two grandchildren, Laurel Richardson and Evan Richardson. He is also survived by his brother and sister-in-law, Terry and Katherine Richardson of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and their family.
A memorial service for close friends and family will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, April 7, 2017, at Warren-McElwain Mortuary, followed by a reception from noon to 2:00 p.m. at the Castle Tea Room. Private interment will be at Oak Hill Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made in his name to Pheasants Forever, Trout Unlimited, and Kansas Public Radio, and may be sent in care of the mortuary.