Obituary of Bruce Bird Richardson
Bruce Bird Richardson was born on March 11, 1947, to Charles Hill and Martha Elizabeth Cline Richardson in Franklin County, North Carolina. Raised alongside his older brother, Charles Cline, Bruce cherished the tobacco farm life in eastern North Carolina. He graduated from Bunn High School in 1965 and “showed up” at N.C. State the following fall for college, assuring his family for years that he never applied or worked hard to be admitted. He and his brilliant mind easily graduated four years later with a degree in education, ready to take on teaching math wherever someone would pay him to do it. But more importantly, he had met the love of his life and his soulmate, Betsy Jane Padgett. Bewitched by her beauty, Bruce asked Betsy to spend the rest of her life with him. They married on July 25, 1970 in Fort Hill United Methodist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia, Betsy’s home church and just down the street from Betsy’s childhood home. They lived life together for the next 53 years. In 1973, they welcomed their first daughter, Jane Elizabeth. While she was so unexpected in every way, Jane made the farm boy into a girl dad. Six years later, Bruce and Betsy finally welcomed their long expected second daughter, Martha Ellen, giving Bruce more opportunities to embrace the girl dad role.
Bruce loved watching NASCAR, learning history, indulging in country ham and eastern-style barbecue, and throwing his head back in body-shaking belly laughs alongside his loved ones. He diligently taught his girls to love Wolfpack red, but was proud of the growing contingent of Tarheel degrees in his family. Bruce begrudgingly traded his career in education for one in sales so he could better support his family financially, but he never stopped teaching. He looked for every opportunity to share life skills so his girls could take care of themselves. Most importantly, he taught his girls the Bible and, along with Betsy, ensured that they were confirmed into the United Methodist faith. He encouraged them to read the Bible for themselves with a critical eye, asking questions and allowing them to choose to believe that Jesus was the Son of God, their Lord and Savior. He wanted them to arrive at their own intellectual decisions, fully supported by the Word of God and the historical record. Bruce’s teachings ensured that his girls would have an unshakeable faith foundation.
Bruce passed away after a struggle with his physical heart, but not his spiritual heart. He knew that Jesus was his Savior and forgave every sin. Bruce was the spiritual leader of his family and, while he may have had some personal battles with the concept of grace, he understood that the miraculous beauty of redemption would win the war.
Bruce left his earthly body on October 3, 2023. He was preceded in death by his parents, Charles (Pops) and Martha (Grandma), and his brother, Charlie. He is survived by his loving and heartbroken wife Betsy; his daughters, Jane (Will) and Martha (Matthew); his beloved grandchildren, Rebecca, Anna, Andrew, and Claire; his sister-in-law Patsy; nephew Charles; niece Holly (Sol); and dear cousins and friends. Bruce and Betsy have chosen together to have one funeral after they have both departed this earth, but if you want to honor Bruce in remembrance now, instead of flowers, please consider making a donation in his memory to Sedge Garden United Methodist Church, 794 Sedge Garden Rd., Kernersville, NC 27284, or The Salvation Army in Winston-Salem, NC. Bruce would also ask you to pick up a Bible and read it with a discerning eye from cover to cover. We will all miss him, but we are forever thankful we knew him.
Friends and family may offer online condolences at www.piercejeffersonfh.com