Eric P. Richards
(August 28, 1944 – January 14, 2022)
Friends and family are invited to attend Eric’s memorial service on Saturday, May 21, 2022. The service will be at 11:30am at The First Congregational Church of Darien, 14 Brookside Road, Darien, CT. Eric P. Richards of New Canaan, CT passed away peacefully January 14, 2022 at home surrounded by his loving family. He was 77. Eric was born on August 28, 1944 in San Francisco, CA to Roland Richards, then on a west coast assignment with the FBI, and Beatrice “Betty” Richards both of Darien, CT. The family returned to Connecticut in 1945 and Eric was raised in Darien on the family’s waterfront property on Five Mile River Road. Enamored with the water from an early age, Eric began rowing boats almost from the time he could walk, then sailing and motoring around in runabouts at his Darien home. He was an early racing sailor winning his first trophy at age 10 in Noroton Yacht Club’s mid-week dinghy series in 1955, sailing the Club’s lapstraked, wooden dyer dinghies. Eric later successfully campaigned the family’s Jet 14 at Noroton, winning several more trophies. This period of his life culminated in sailing on Bolero in 1964 and ’65 and racing in the ’66 Bermuda race aboard Mah Jong a 53’ all teak custom built yawl. It was a trip to remember with estimated 50+ knots of wind crossing the Gulf Stream, the boat falling off square waves, much derring do, Eric’s first adventure into the open sea. Eric attended local schools in Darien through the ninth grade before enrolling at Deerfield Academy, a prep school in Massachusetts, from which he graduated in 1962. Following Deerfield, he received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Columbia University and attended Columbia’s Graduate School of Business for a term while awaiting a commission in the US Naval Reserve. He attended the Navy Officer Candidate School in Newport, RI. Upon receiving his commission in March 1968 he had refocused his efforts from ships to flight and was accepted into the Naval Aviator pilot training program in Pensacola and in jets in Meridian, MS, Pensacola, FL and Kingsville, TX.