James Braden Richards, Sr., 49, of Findlay, passed away at 10:41 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017 at the Cleveland Clinic, following a lengthy illness. He was born on Aug. 16, 1968 in Gallipolis, OH to John E. Jr. “Jack” and Carol J. (Johnson) Richards, and they survive in Jackson, OH. Braden is survived by his wife of 23 years, Elizabeth Anne (Crawford) Richards.
Braden is also survived by three children: Bailey Poland of Bowling Green, OH, Bree Richards of Findlay, OH, and Braden Richards, Jr. of Findlay, OH; two brothers: Brian Richards of Jackson, OH, and Brent (MaryBeth) Richards of Dearborn, MI; one sister: Brenda (Alan) Freiheit of Blacklick, OH; and numerous nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins.
He was preceded in death by his grandparents, John E., Sr. and Joan (Hardman) Richards, and Walter J. and Carrie M. (Riegel) Johnson.
As a young man, Braden was an excellent student, dedicated member of Christ United Methodist Church, and beloved citizen of his home community of Jackson, OH. Braden was class president and one of the valedictorians of the class of 1986. He was a Rotary Senior, ran cross country and played tennis, was in the marching, pep, symphonic, and jazz bands, as well as choir, and was involved in school plays. He was also a member of the National Honor Society, Scholarship Team, Hi-Y, and the Hi-Q Team. He joined his close friend and college roommate, Chris Rose, in a rock band called “Voyager,” and they performed together for many years.
Braden enjoyed his job as a piano teacher and piano tuner during high school and beyond. He graduated magna cum laude from Ohio University with a degree in electrical engineering and a minor in music. At OU, he was a member of the Ohio University Singers, and was a member of the international engineering honors fraternity Eta Kappa Nu, and served his chapter as president.
After college, Braden worked for Emerson Electric (Thermodisc) in Mansfield, OH, where he met the love of his life and best friend, Beth. In 1999, he took a position in engineering and became a program manager for FRAM Group (formerly Autolite) of Fostoria, OH. Braden was awarded patents for products he developed during his career, and his family remains proud of his many achievements.
In addition to his professional accomplishments, Braden was an active member of St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Findlay, often contributing his piano skills to school plays and other events. He and his son, Braden Jr., joined the International Brotherhood of Magicians together, and Braden served as president of Ring 205. Braden loved to play tennis and sing, and was bold enough to start and complete Sudoku puzzles in pen. He was a devoted father, husband, son, and brother, whose goal was always the happiness, comfort, and safety of his family. He had a humble, cheerful, and funny personality, even in the face of his illnesses, and was beloved by everyone he met.
In 2009, Braden was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease that, among other symptoms, affected his lungs and his ability to breathe. Although he continued to work hard and excel at his job, his health declined, and in March of 2016 he was fortunate enough to become a double lung transplant recipient. He returned to work not long after. In January, 2017, Braden and family learned that he had a brain tumor, and he began undergoing cancer treatment. Braden’s family is immensely grateful that he was blessed with a year and a half of life in which he had healthy, functional lungs again, even though his health complications continued. Throughout his journey, Braden remained positive, and his strength and determination encouraged his family and many friends as they traveled with him.
Visitation will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017 at Kirkpatrick-Behnke Funeral Home at 500 Lima Ave., Findlay, OH. There will also be an hour of visitation prior to the Mass on Thursday from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church at 750 Bright Road, Findlay, OH at 12 p.m. (noon) on Sept. 7, 2017, with Father Scott Woods celebrant and Father Eric Mueller co-celebrant. Burial will follow in St. Michael Catholic Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Braden’s fund at Help Hope Live: https://helphopelive.org/campaign/8801. Donations will be used to defray medical and funeral costs, and to support the medical journey of another family in honor of Braden’s memory. Online condolences may be sent via www.kirkpatrickbehnke.com