James Buis Richards, Jr.

October 28, 1946 - March 8, 2022

Memorial Gifts & Donations

Virginia Beach- James B. Richards Jr.,75, died unexpectedly at his home on March 8, 2022. He was born in Charlotte, North Carolina to the late James B. Richards and Bleeka McEwen Richards on October 28, 1946.

Jim grew up in Charlotte, NC and graduated from Garinger High School. An exceptional athlete, he attended Virginia Tech on a four-year football scholarship where the team had some stellar seasons, winning the Harvest Bowl in 1965 and playing in the Liberty Bowl in 1966. He won the Montieth Award for Military, Scholastic and Athletic Achievement, was named to Who’s Who in American Colleges and graduated with a B.S in Civil and Environmental Engineering in 1969 as a Distinguished Military Graduate.

Jim began training with the New York Jets in 1968. He played defensive safety for two years that included playing against the Oakland Raiders in the AFL Championship game and then the Baltimore Colts as the Jets, led By Joe Namath, won Super Bowl III. Playing on special teams, he made the first tackle on the opening kickoff.

Jim’s football career was curtailed by a call from the U.S. Army – as a former member of the Corps of Cadets, he had to fulfill his two-year commitment. He served with the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers at Fort Belvoir and later at Camp Humphreys in Korea where he was platoon leader and executive company officer in the Construction Battalion. Afterwards, he returned to Virginia Tech to work on a master’s degree in civil engineering.

After completing his M.S. in 1973, he worked his way through various firms until he became the Vice President of C.E. Maguire. He purchased the firm’s Virginia operations in 1990. In 1996 he partnered with Michael Baker Corporation serving as executive vice president overseeing operations in 12 states. He spent the last years before retirement with HSMM and AECOM. He was especially proud of his role as the Engineer of Record for the Lake Gaston Water Supply Pipeline – a 76 mile, 15-year project that facilitated the growth and development of Virginia Beach. A leader in the water industry, in 1995 he was recognized by the Virginia Section of the American Water Works Association with the distinguished Fuller Award and in 2002 was inducted into the Virginia Tech Civil and Environmental Engineering Academy of Distinguished Alumni.

After retirement, Jim and Linda divided their time between Virginia Beach and Blacksburg. Generous in his service to Virginia Tech, he served on the Civil and Environmental Engineering Alumni Board, the university’s Continuing Education Committee and the College of Engineering ‘s Committee of 100. Active with Hokie Athletics, he loved living in Blacksburg during football season, tailgating before games with fellow Hokies. Jim was a member of First Presbyterian Church where he served as an Elder and attended the Men’s Tuesday Morning Bible Study. An avid golfer, he enjoyed playing with the Senior Men and served on the Board of the Cavalier Golf and Yacht Club.

Jim is survived by his wife of 26 years, Linda Champion-Richards. He is also survived by his two sisters, Cora Richards of Charlotte, NC and Susan Richards of Atlanta, Ga.; his children Mark Richards and his wife Laura of Charlotte NC, Christina Tidaback and her husband Bruce of Clearwater Fl., their mother Barbara Richards Sayrer and her husband Quentin of Charlotte, NC; and Jason Champion and his wife Rachael of Virginia Beach. He loved being “Pawpaw” to his grandchildren Taylor and Justin Tidaback; Avery and Ella Richards; and Tessa Champion. He will be deeply missed by his friends and family.

A memorial service will be held at First Presbyterian Church on Saturday, April 23 at 1:30 pm. Memorial donations may be made to the Plaza Volunteer Rescue Squad, 3610 S Plaza Trail, Virginia Beach, VA 23452 or to First Presbyterian Church, 300 Thirty Sixth Street, Virginia Beach, VA 23451.

Cremation & Funeral Services of Tidewater is assisting his family. Online condolences may be expressed at CandFServices.com.

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Sheila Harvey Pigninelli
1 year ago

So sorry for your loss. Jimmy was a good man and good Hokie.God bless your family.

Cheryl Allen
1 year ago

I am so sorry for your loss, Linda. Hoping that your memories and faith will comfort you and your family in this time of need and in the days ahead. I will keep you in my prayers.

1 year ago

I keep searching for a word, a thought, a sentence. Something to say that begins to express what I feel. And maybe in time the right thing will come to mind. For now, I’ll just remember the laughs and tears we shared. Linda, you are loved. Very much.

Don & Ginny Maxwell
1 year ago

Our sincere condolences to Linda and the entire Richards family on the passing of Jim. He lived life to its’ fullest – always smiling, friendly and willing to assist you. But most of all a loving husband and father. May your grief be offset by the fond remembrances of his outstanding life.
I will think of Jim every time when I watch the Hokies play. RIP

1 year ago

I saw Mr. Richards play for the Jets in 68 and 69. I remember a long punt return against Miami.
God bless and RIP

Michael Bumbaco
1 year ago

Linda, Please accept Holly and my condolences for you, family,and friends. Jim gave me the great opportunity and pleasure of being involved with the engineering business. He was a great mentor and role model. I’ll never forget him helping me on a Saturday to meet a deadline. He also taught me that one needs to reward oneself and the team after completing a large project. Here’s to Jim!

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