Dale Smith Richardson was an outdoors man. All of his life, he loved being outside, fishing, hunting, birdwatching and tinkering on the Richardson Farm in Tywhapity Bottoms. As a carpenter and expert mechanic, he was a man who enjoyed taking a hands-on approach to life and never met a project or machine he couldn’t figure out and fix.

Born Jan. 22, 1946, in Owensboro to Clyde and Alice (Bivens) Richardson, he was the fifth child of eight siblings whom he loved very much. When he wasn’t plotting mischievous escapades with his lifelong friend, Clabrone Toler, his favorite mission was to head down to the Gatewood General Store and buy the “big” Hershey’s chocolate bar and a cold Coca-Cola for 25 cents! Named the “Handsomest” in his High School Class of 1964, he looked even better in the Army uniform he put on a week after graduating. Eager to follow his big brother Donald Ray’s footsteps, he enlisted, going first to Fort Knox and then Germany. Out of the military medals and badges he received, he loved talking about his expert rifleman badge the most. He carried the names of the young men he trained, especially those who didn’t return from Vietnam, in his heart, and in the last years of his life would recall them often and how much they meant to him.

When he arrived back home to Kentucky in 1968, he sped along the curvy backroads with friends and family, occasionally outrunning the sheriff in his 1968 Green Pontiac V-8 Firebird or his 1977 Pontiac Trans Am Bandit before settling down and buying his “Big Blue” Chevy truck. In 1980, he began building his dream home, an A-Frame log cabin on a cliff overlooking a wide bend in the Ohio River, where he lived with his wife, Cara, for 30 years. Dale worked at Tell City Chair before getting a job at NSA, now Century, working hard as a furnace operator and brickmason for 40-plus years and was responsible for a patent that revolutionized furnace safety in the industry. Yet, his real interest lay in the corner of the world where Daviess and Hancock Counties meet along the banks of Blackford Creek, enjoying the beauty of the landscape, often sketching quail to paint later. A passionate nature conservationist, he could coax any animal wild or tame to come eat out of his hand and loved spending hours dreaming under the cedar trees of a new flower garden, building a deer stand for his grandkids, and all the chestnut trees he was going to put on the farm next year.

Dale endured a severely debilitating illness heroically and optimistically without complaint for eight years and died peacefully in his sleep on March 22, 2021. The family would like to thank Jennifer Morris for all her tender care and his brothers and sisters for their unfailing support. A special thanks goes to his brother-in-law, Mike Henning, who continually helped without ever being asked.

Dale is preceded in death by his parents, Clyde and Alice Richardson; and his eldest brother, Donald Ray Richardson.

He is survived by his wife, Cara Hess Richardson; his sons, Ryan (Brandi) Richardson, Matthew (Katelyn) Richardson and David (Bernadette) McFarling; and a daughter, Farrah Smith Powers-Richardson. Dale, aka “Pops,” also leaves behind five granddaughters, Brynna, Andi, Annadale, Riley and Alena; and his siblings, Faye (Sheldon) Sherwood, Bonnie Lambert, Carol Sorg, Elaine (Danny) Bowlds, Kenneth (Sheila) Richardson and Johnny (Raelynn) Richardson.

A memorial service will be 1 p.m. Saturday at Trent-Dowell Funeral Home in Hardinsburg with military honors. Burial will be in the St. Romuald Cemetery at a later date. Visitation will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Expressions of sympathy are suggested to DAV (Disabled American Veterans) Charitable Service Trust, 3725 Alexandria Pike, Cold Spring, KY 41076.