Gardening 12

Martha "Mindy" Melinda (Gray) Richards

November 19, 1951 ~ October 21, 2021 (age 69)

Obituary

Martha Melinda (Mindy) Richards, 69, passed away on October 21, 2021, after battling non-small cell lung cancer. She was born on November 19, 1951 at the Mar-Lad ranch in Sheridan, Wyoming, to William and Martha (MacKillican) Gray.

Mindy lived in Wyoming until she was 12 years old, when her family split and she moved to Grand Rapids. Wyoming always held a special place in her heart and she spoke often of it and greatly enjoyed her trips to Wyoming and Montana later in life. But Minnesota was home. She graduated from Grand Rapids Senior High in 1970, attended Itasca State Junior College and later attended Hibbing Technical College, where she graduated with an AS in Criminal Justice and remained living in the area for the remainder of her life. In 1972, she married Roger Lien and had two children - Kristofer in 1974, and Joshua in 1978. Roger and Mindy divorced in 1981 and Mindy married Patrick Richards in 1986 and navigated the remaining 35 years of her journey with Pat, living in Deer River and gaining a step-son Thomas Richards in the process.

If you knew Mindy, you knew that helping people who needed it most was a driving force in her life and career choices, especially when she was able-bodied. That is what led her to work with Special Olympics, and as a shelter house counselor at the Itascan House, crisis counselor at Deer River High School, and was hired by the Deer River Police Department, becoming the first full-time licensed female police officer in Itasca County. It was common for people to knock on her door at all hours of the night when they needed help. She had a true gift for helping people and it energized her even on her worst physical days. Mindy battled MS for 33 years, which led to the end of her ability to work as a school counselor and police officer. She had been battling for a long time with a combination of the MS and several other major ailments, including Lung Cancer, which is the one she ultimately couldn’t overcome. She was a bright soul and kind heart trapped in a failing body for the last part of her life. She loved doing crafts, making Christmas ornaments and decorating for Christmas, writing long letters, watching medical shows, enjoying the flowers and weather of the Spring, dressing up and handing out candy for Halloween, and receiving handmade cards and flowers.

She loved her people deeply, and will be greatly missed by her husband, Patrick, of Deer River, MN; her son Kristofer (Alison) Lien of Andover, MN; her son, Joshua (Gina) of Deer River, MN; step-son Thomas (Sheena) Richards of Grand Rapids, MN; six grandchildren, Audrey and Cael Richards of Grand Rapids; Noah and Ryder Lien of Deer River; Harper and Beckett Lien of Andover; sisters Missy (Leroy) Gray of Blackberry, MN, and Georgia (Jeff) Niles of Blackberry, MN; brothers Mark (Amy) McManus of Billings, MT, and Jim McManus of Sheridan, WY; mother-in-law, Darlene Richards of Shell Lake, WI; and a large collection of sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, cousins, nieces, nephews, and a select few others that claimed her as family. After her parents passed, Mindy was adopted by the Mitchell/Gotchie family and was really proud to be part of that family and enjoyed the many new relatives she made.

Visitation will be Friday, November 19, 2021, at 1:00 p.m. at Bethany Lutheran Church in Deer River, followed by a celebration of life service at 2:00 p.m. led by Pastor Mark McManus. A luncheon reception will follow at the Deer River Vets Club.

To send flowers to Martha "Mindy" Melinda (Gray) Richards' family, please visit our floral store.


Services

Visitation
Friday
November 19, 2021

1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Bethany Lutheran Church
33297 MN-6
Deer River, MN 56636

Celebration of Life
Friday
November 19, 2021

2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Bethany Lutheran Church
33297 MN-6
Deer River, MN 56636

Please note
A luncheon reception will follow at the Deer River Vets Club.
© 2021 Carroll Funeral Home. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy