Liberians from all walks of life gathered in their numbers at the First United Methodist Church on Ashmun Street over the weekend to bid farewell to a dedicated and long serving public servant, the late Joseph Gottieb Richards. The late Richards was a renowned Liberian Geologist, who was also former Deputy Minister for Administration at the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy.
The former deputy minister died on Wednesday, August 5, at his residence in Mamba Point, Monrovia after a brief of illness.
The mourners led by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, which also included several high-profiled government officials and some eminent people from the private sector joined host of family and friends to pay their last respect
The late Honorable Joe Richards will be remembered for his tremendous contributions in the field of mining, geology, hydrology, cartography, energy, photo-geological interpretation and map-making.
The late public servant is most renowned for his role, along with Dutch geologist, Cornelius Bloot, in the discovery of the Nimba ore deposit, which subsequently led to the coming of the famous Liberian-American-Swedish Minerals Company (LAMCO) for its exploitation.
In recognition of his pivotal role, he was decorated as Commander, Order of the North Star by the Swedish Government for his accomplishment. Similarly, the late Joe Richards was given an Award by the German Government for investigating and mapping the iron ore deposit at Bong Mines, Executive Mansion sources said.
The late Richards began his public service when he was appointed by President William R. Tolbert, Jr. as the first Director General of the General Services Agency in 1971, though he later resigned two years after. In December 1976, he accepted to bring into fruition the Liberian Industrial Free Zone Authority (LIFZA) on Bushrod Island until it was grounded to a halt in 1980 following the 1980 coup.
He was appointed Deputy Minister for Administration at the Ministry of Lands, Mines & Energy by the late President William R. Tolbert, Jr. in 1974. In 1984, the late President Samuel K. Doe appointed the deceased to the position of Deputy Minister for Administration at the Ministry of Lands, Mines & Energy – a post he served with distinction.
In consideration of his selfless, loyal and dedicated services to the Liberian Government, President Sirleaf, who is Grand Master of the Orders of Distinction, admitted him into the Humane Order of African Redemption with the Grade of Knight Great Band.
In addition to his life in public service, the deceased was a renowned entrepreneur, farmer, an author, poet, founding member of the Liberian Businessmen’s Association now LIBA.
He was also the founder and member of several clubs, including the social club VingtJeuneHomme (Twenty Young Men); Invincible Eleven (IE) Football Club which was founded in 1943 at which time he served as the first Captain.
He was joined in holy matrimony with his fourth grade classmate Miss Anna Lucretia Sherman on December 29, 1950, which union was blessed with five children.
To the credit, from the dozens of Liberians who benefitted from his tutelage at the Bureau of Mines now the Ministry of Lands, Mines & Energy, six proudly emerged as Ministers.
The remains of the late Joseph G. Richards were interred in Margibi County.