Billy Ray Richardson, 78, of Florence, passed away at his home after an extended illness on Monday, June 8, 2020, surrounded by his adored wife and devoted family. Billy was born on October 29, 1941 in Florence, Alabama. He was a graduate of Central High School and attended John A. Gupton College in Nashville, Tennessee and Jefferson State University in Birmingham, Alabama, where he majored in Mortuary Science. In 1960, he married the love of his life, Frances Simmons Richardson. They had two beautiful children, Deona and William and 59 wonderful years of marriage. His first position as Funeral Director was with Spry Funeral Home. He later joined Morrison Elkins Funeral Home where he worked for his mentors and friends, Stanley Elkins and Joe Morrison, Sr. Later, he joined Greenview Funeral Home as manager, from which he retired in 2015. He devoted over 50 years of his life to funeral service.
Billy served as Lauderdale County Coroner for sixteen years. He was a member of the Alabama Funeral Directors Association and the Alabama Coroners Association serving as Treasurer. He was a member of Father Sylvester Fangman’s Fourth Degree Assembly and Knights of Columbus Council 3989 where he served as Honor Guard Commander, Faithful Navigator, and Grand Knight. He was also a member of the Florence Elks Lodge, Florence Moose Lodge, and the Florence Civitan Club. He served on the Florence Historical Board and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security through Emergency Management with FEMA. He and other healthcare professionals provided grief support to families who experienced the loss of their newborn baby with Resolve Through Sharing at Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital. For many years he enjoyed writing his weekly column, “Reflections” featured in the Courier Journal. He and his wife Frances have always had a love of flowers. In their early years they were the owners of My Florist and currently own Will & Dees Florist. Billy was a devoted Catholic and a member of St. Michael’s Catholic Church.
Billy was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, son, brother, brother-in-law, uncle and friend. He truly had a servant’s heart and selflessly served the Shoals community. He had a compassion for comforting those experiencing the loss of a loved one. He cherished time with his family. Lovingly referred to as “Grand” by his grandchildren, trips to the beach were his favorite. He was loved by many for his dedication, attention to detail, and his devotion to family and friends.
He is survived by his wife, Frances Simmons Richardson, daughter, Deona Richardson Berrens and husband Joe, son William Simmons Richardson, grandchildren David Joseph Berrens, III and wife Mary Lindsay, and granddaughter Darby Katherine Berrens, all of Florence. Other survivors include sister Glenda Clemons and husband Wayne, of Killen, brother, Frank Canerday, Jr. and wife Debbie, sister-in-law Jeanette Smith and husband Gilbert, all of Florence. He was preceded in death by his mother, Lillie Mae Richardson Canerday and father, Daniel Richardson and grandparents Tom and Anna Richardson and Eudora Burbank.
Visitation will be Thursday, June 11, from 9:00-12:00 P.M. at Greenview Funeral Home with the Rosary at 12:00 PM. Graveside services immediately following at 1:00 PM at St. Michael’s Cemetery, Church Road, St. Florian, with Father John O’Donnell O.S.B. officiating.
Active Pallbearers will be Joe Berrens, David Berrens, III, Dr. Bill Connolly, Dr. Matthew Connolly, Bob Schroeder, and Edwin Kasmeier.
Honorary Pallbearers will be members of the Knights of Columbus, Council 3989 and fellow funeral directors.
Special thanks to his Greenview Memorial Family for the love shown to Billy over the years. The family would like to thank Nurse Jami Terry of Encompass Health and Billy’s sister, Glenda Clemons for the love, kindness and compassion they showed in taking care of him. There will always be a very special place in our hearts for you all. Memorials may be made to St. Michael’s Loaves and Fishes and St. Joseph School Foundation.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Billy Ray Richardson, please visit our floral store.