Former Missouri Sen. Ron Richard dies at 75

 June 10, 2023

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Ron Richard, a top Republican politician in Missouri, has died at the age of 75. 

The cause of Richard's death, which occurred at about 6:45 a.m. on Friday, has yet to be reported.

But, according to St. Louis Public Radio, Richard was recently diagnosed with bladder cancer.

Still, it is unclear whether or not the cancer factored into his passing.

Remembering Richard

Originally from Kansas, Richard moved to Joplin, Missouri, during his childhood. After college, Richard would continue his family's business - C & N Bowling Corporation - before getting into politics.

In the 1990s, Richard served as a member of Joplin's city council and as the city's mayor. And, in 2002, he was elected to Missouri's House of Representatives. Richard would go on to become the House speaker.

In 2010, Richard was elected to the Missouri Senate, where he would remain from 2010 to 2018. During his final three years in the state senate, he was the president of the upper chamber, making him the only individual in Missouri's history to have had separate stints as the leader of the state house and the leader of the state senate.

In 2019, Richard left the state senate as a result of Missouri's term limits.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports:

As a lawmaker, [Richard] pressed his colleagues to approve an anti-union “right to work” law that he believed would spur investment by businesses in the state. He also was a stickler for Senate decorum, often reminding senators, aides, and members of the press to tighten their neckties when they were on the floor.


Many of Richard's former colleagues are now offering tributes to Richard following the news of his passing. This includes Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R), who served alongside Richard in both the Missouri House and Senate.

In his statement, Parson described Richard as a “strong leader and dedicated public servant.”

“Ron was one of few great men to have served as both President of the Missouri Senate and Speaker of the Missouri House during his public service career,” Parson said.

Jay Nixon, the former governor of Missouri and a Democrat, also had nothing but praise for Richard in his own statement. Nixon said:

Honest and Tough can still get you a long way in America. Ron Richard got to the pinnacle of power living that way. A leader for the ages.

Richard is survived by his wife, Patty, two children, and five grandchildren.

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