“Stay single for as long as you can,” was one piece of advice Paul Richards out of Decatur gave me. With his Lanes soda and Air Force past, Paul Richards is still making the best out of his life today with owning his own hardware and trucking business and being the Post Commander of the American Legion Post 215. We take a deeper look into what Paul Richards came from.
Ivy Anderson: Who is all in your family?
Paul Richards: Wife, Leann Richards, 3 boys, Jason, Justin & Josh, and 7 grandkids.
What was your childhood and later life like?
Let’s see, my childhood started in 1947 on the farm in Elm Creek Valley, southwest of Decatur. Growing up on the farm, all activities that we did we created ourselves. We didn’t go to town, dad had cows we milked. I had two that I milked and we helped with the garden. We got a soda only when all the neighbors got together and thrashed the oats and dad would go get a case for the thrashing crew. Lanes was the brand of the soda and they had grape and orange flavors.
Going to school, highlight was getting one new pair of overalls and shoes. I went to District 31 Elm Creek for four years which was first through fourth grade. It was 8 grades in a one room school with one teacher. We moved into town in 1958 then went to Decatur School and that’s where I graduated in 1965.
Then I went to work for Bolden Colorado Beech Aircraft; they built parts for APD aircrafts. I worked on hydrogen and liquid cells. December 1965 I got a draft notice from Uncle Sam and during the physical I volunteered to join the Air Force. After schooling went I to England – Alconbury Royal Air Force (RAB) and was part of the photo reconnaissance squadron which traveled all around Europe and Asia. May 11, 1970 I discharged from the service.
How has Decatur changed?
When I was growing up Decatur was filled with people. Dad always said get your bath taken fast because he didn’t want to park a long ways down Main Street. I remember Main Street always being active.
What was the most exciting time in your life?
When I had my boys! And when I started the mechanic’s college course at Northeast and taught that for two years.
How did you become the person you are today?
Number one from Decatur being a small town, time in the service shown responsibility and discipline. You could be what you wanted in Decatur, I started with mechanics then ended up with a trucking and parts store. Always a need in Decatur.
How is your generation different than my generation?
I grew up with outdoor plumbing, no electronics. I payed 375 dollars for my first car and I bet you didn’t.
What advice do you have for me at my age?
Live life to its fullest. Show respect to others. Remember the golden rule.