There are good men who do good things, who love their families, and leave lasting impressions with those who’ve loved them. Then there are great men. Men of a caliber that good men strive to imitate. PeeWee Richardson was a great man. He was born in Green Hill, AL in the fall of 1936. He graduated from Rogers High School, and attended Florence State College and the University of North Alabama for certificates in business management. He worked for decades as a supervisor at Martin Industries and the Foundry of the Shoals. He served in the United States Army in the Korean War, and in Cold War Germany. He never bragged about any of his exploits, or spoke of combat. He was even wounded in action, but felt it unimportant to mention. He was humble, and uncomfortable with any direct attention. He was also whip smart. He was the only member of his unit serving in Germany to get a German driver’s license because you had to speak with fluency to pass the test. When asked about it he’d joke, “I just wanted to drive a tank down the Audubon.” He was one of funniest men you’d ever meet. He had a joke to tell for any given situation, and if he didn’t he would improv. He had nicknames for almost everyone- Doodle Bug, Sam, Steph, Luther, Lucinda, Newt, and a few the newspaper would probably rather not print. He was over 6’3”, but carried around the nickname PeeWee his entire life. Very few people even knew his given name. This wasn’t duplicitous on his account. He was honest, to a fault. He would be the first to tell you that your spouse’s elevator “didn’t go to the top floor,” or to tell someone off if they needed it. However, he was also kind and thoughtful. He’d soak an old dog’s food in milk or water to soften the kibble to make it easier to chew. If an animal showed up hungry, it was fed scrambled eggs, hotdogs and bologna until it was full. If his grandchild asked for a dollhouse for Christmas, he hand-built her a wooden creation complete with velvet upholstered furniture. If his wife or daughters were too embarrassed to go buy feminine products, he went to the local grocer and asked for “wheelbarrow seeds” and was given a discreetly folded brown paper bag. If his grandson expressed an interest in hunting as a toddler he was given knives and guns that had to be locked up by his parents until he was old enough to safely handle them. He’d balk, “you’re never too young to start collecting knives!” Case knives, apparently, are appropriate gifts for kids of all ages. He would call home before he left work everyday just to ask if his wife or daughters needed anything on his way home. As to his wife, Elaine, she was the love of his life. They married in 1957. Look at any picture of them between 1957 and her death in 2013 and you’ll see PeeWee looking at Elaine like she’s made of magic. For him, she was. He survived her, and it wasn’t easy for him. He talked about her all the time, and never even contemplated remarrying. He was loving and faithful for the entirety of their 56 year marriage, and there’s was a true and beautiful love story that produced 3 beautiful daughters. They were all the apples of his eye. He raised them to think on their feet, and put up with zero nonsense. Look at the women they are today, and you’ll see his influence (and a bit of his temper) in each of them. He made them strong and resilient, but any one of them would give you the shirt from their back. That’s the PeeWee in them. He was close to both of his son-in-laws. He treated them like the sons he never had, and they loved him like a father. He was Popaw PeeWee to the four grandkids he helped raise. He was the first to tell them he was proud of them, and the last to correct errant behavior. He’d take them to company parties for the “good cookies” or Happy Meals, and sneak them over to Kmart for a toy on the way home. He immensely enjoyed visits with his great-grandchildren. He kept cookies and Snack Packs for the express purpose of giving them something sweet. Not 12 hours from his death he was offering them cookies. He survived 2 different bouts with cancer, and never complained. He was near deaf from his time in the military, but that never stopped him either. He was a constant force of forward motion, a caretaker, a confidant, and a loyal friend. He was the last, and most stubborn, of his siblings. He was PeeWee, Dorris, and Popaw. He was the mark by which we judge ourselves and others. And much like Theodore Roosevelt, death had to take him in his sleep to avoid a fight.
PeeWee is survived by his daughters, Donna Watkins (Brad), Tammy Cabler (Tim), and Stephanie Richardson (Roy Littrell); his granddaughters Jessica Cabler Aderholt (Jason) and Layla Littrell (Aaron); his grandsons Cyle Cabler (Lindsey) and Josh Cabler; his great-grandsons Preston and Wesley Littrell, Dylan Cabler, and August Ivan Aderholt; and his great-granddaughters Norah Aderholt, Leah Kate Littrell, and Ally Turner Cabler; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife Joyce Elaine Richardson, his mother Esther Janes Richardson, his father Robert Lee Richardson, his siblings, and numerous other close family and friends.
Visitation will be Sunday, April 14th from 5-8pm at Greenhill Funeral Home. Graveside service will be Monday, April 15th at 1pm at Hill Cemetery in Green Hill.
Pallbearers will be his beloved nephews Butch Beavers and Gene Richardson, his grandsons Josh and Cyle Cabler, Roy Littrell, Aaron Littrell, and Jason Aderholt.
Honorary pallbearers will be his dear friend Randy “Mountain Man” Creasy, and his great-grandsons Preston and Wesley Littrell.