Lionel Charles Richards, aka Lonnie, was born Dec. 15, 1931 in McAllen, Texas to parents Lionel Carleton Richards and Vesta Fay (Burrell) Richards and one sister Billie Jean Richards.
On Jan. 10, 1953 he married Doris Marcy of Merced. They raised three children: Lonnie, Dianna and Linea. He was raised in both Merced and Mariposa, first arriving in California at the age of 3 months.
He graduated from grammar and high school in Merced and spent two years of high school in Mariposa. He had a lifetime teaching credential, received his AA degree from Merced College and BA degree from California State University Sacramento, also graduated from the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va.
After high school, he spent four years in the U.S. Navy and is a Korean War veteran. He then went to work for PG&E in Merced/ Mariposa. After 13 years, he left for an appointment to the Merced Police Department to become a police officer. After a brief stay with the Merced Police Department, he accepted an appointment to the California State Police Academy. After spending 26 years in law enforcement, he retired as assistant chief for the California Highway Patrol.
Lon was assigned to Dignitary Protection Service of the California Highway Patrol and was a personal body guard to Gov. Ronald Regan (four years), Gov. Jerry Brown (four years) and was commander of DPS for another four years. He oversaw the CHP operations during the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.
Lon and his wife Doris moved to Lushmeadows in 1981 where they have resided since. He was an active member of: FBINAA, VFW, American Legion, Lions Club, ECV (Clampers), Elks Lodge, Masonic Lodge #24, Scottish Rite and Mariposa F&E Protective Association.
Lon was an outdoorsman and loved his family very much. He was dedicated person and tackled just about every aspect of the building trade.
He is survived by his three children, seven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. A memorial will be held at the Mariposa Masonic Lodge on Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020 at 11 a.m.