Bill Richardson
First Fire Chief of Palomar

William Arthur Richardson, Jr. (Bill) passed away peacefully on May 3 at the age of 81.  He was a decorated U.S. Army veteran of WWII and the Korean Conflict.  Among the medals he received were: the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman Badge, and Good Conduct Medal.

Bill was born and raised in San Diego where he served as a firefighter, police officer, U.S. Deputy Federal Marshal, and Lead Criminal Investigator for the San Diego County District Attorney's Office.  He was preceded in death by his wife of 49 years, Patricia, and his eldest daughter Sharon Thompson.  He is survived by his daughters Linda Richardson and Kathy Stewart-Erjavec, son Alan Richardson, and beloved companion Dolores Levan, all of the Central Coast.  He has three grand-daughters, two grandsons, and nine great-grandchildren

All who knew Bill miss him.

Bill Richardson and his wife Pat came to Palomar Mountain in the mid-70s.  They  built a 'soft A-Frame' on the north side of Crestline where they enjoyed many happy years.  Pat is remembered by many from her days substituting in the Palomar Mountain Post Office and contributing to a column for the Valley Center Road Runner on Palomar happenings.  Mountain old-timers will remember Bill as a founding member and the very first Fire Chief of the Palomar Mountain Volunteer Fire Department.  He served as Fire Chief from 1975 to 1976.  To save the volunteers thousands in legal fees, Bill filled out and filed the Department's corporate papers.

Bill Richardson commuted daily to the County offices in Vista.  On weekends, he often could be found cleaning up the mountain's solid-waste site--aka, The Dump--before there was a paid attendant.

Soon after Bill's retirement from the DA's office in 1987, Bill and Pat sold their cabin, bought a fifth-wheel travel trailer, and hit the road.  They traveled throughout the United States before returning to Palomar to serve as Campground Hosts in the USFS Observatory Campground.  Trading in the trailer on a motor home, the peripatetics again traveled extensively, spending off-times near their son Alan, who at the time lived in Mississippi.  When Alan moved to the California Central Coast in 1994, Bill and Pat followed in their motor home.  They enjoyed having their three remaining children, Linda, Alan, and Kathy, all living within an hour's drive.

Pat passed away on January 2, 1996 with her family in attendance.  On his own, Bill actively served the Morro Bay community as a volunteer for Meals on Wheels and the Morro Bay Senior Center.

At Bill's request, no services were held.  Cards and notes may be mailed to Dolores Levan
2436A Alder Avenue
Morro Bay, CA 93442.
Anyone who wishes may make a tax-exempt donation to Hospice who took exceptionally good care of Bill in his last days.

Hospice Partners of the Central Coast
227 South Street, Suite R
San Luis Obispo, CA. 93401

Provided to the Mountain News by Rich Day with help from Kathy Lande

From: Patty Jordan
Sent: Thursday, May 17, 2007
Subject: RE: Friends of Bill Richardson - Palomar's first Fire Chief

I knew Pat and Bill very well. According to my parents and grandfather, Pat also made the best apple pie "in the world." I miss them very much and often wonder whatever happened to them after they left for Mississippi.

My parents were Alan and Dorothy Jordan. My grandfather was Foster Jordan. My family lived in a neighboring cabin on Palomar during the weekends consistently from 1971 to 1979. After my father's death in 1979, my mother and I would come up every few months or so until her death in 1991.

My parents and Pat and Bill were inseparable. My grandfather would come to Palomar from time to time. And, when he did, he always asked Pat for a pie. She would ask him what kind he wanted. . . It was usually always apple. However, I recall that one time he asked for a gooseberry pie- thinking that he would throw her for a loop. But, Pat found gooseberries and made him the pie. He never forgot that. Those years with Pat and Bill on the mountain were very happy ones. Lots of laughter, lots of fun and of course, lots of pie.   -PJ

Bill (center) on his first job as a firefighter in 1952 with the La Mesa Fire Department.