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Donald P. Richards

Journalist, photographer, travel agent. Born: November 25, 1922, St. Joseph, Missouri.

Donald P. (Don) Richards was born November 25, 1922 in St. Joseph, Missouri, the son of James C. and Virginia Kindig Richards. The family moved to Manhattan in 1931 where Richards attended and graduated from Sacred Heart Academy grade and high school. He enrolled at Kansas State University in September 1940 and graduated with a degree in Industrial Journalism in 1943. Richards enlisted in the Army in June 1942 while enrolled in the ROTC program at Kansas State. He attended infantry officers training at Fort Benning, Georgia, and was ordered overseas to the European Theater in June 1944. He served as a platoon leader in the 317th Regiment, 80th Infantry Division, Third Army. He was wounded in the Battle of the Moselle, Eastern France, and returned to the 317th during the Battle of the Bulge. Richards was with the unit until the war ended in Europe. He was awarded the Combat Infantryman's Badge, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, and the ETO Theater Ribbon with four stars. In July 1945 he volunteered as a photography officer in the Third Army's 166th Signal Photo Company which was scheduled to go from Europe to the Pacific Theater for the invasion of Japan. The Japanese war ended while the photography company was readying for debarkation at Marseilles, France. The company was then broken up and Richards was assigned to Oise headquarters at Reims; he later transferred to Western Base Headquarters in Paris.

Richards returned to the U.S. in July 1946. He married Donna Hassur in Parsons on August 26, 1946, and accepted a position as sports editor for the Parsons Sun. In January 1947 Richards and his wife moved to Los Angeles, California, so he could attend the Fred Archer School of Photography, a two-year program in professional photography. In Los Angeles, Donna was employed by the FBI. In September 1949 the couple moved to Columbia, Missouri, where Richards became director of public relations photography and an instructor in photography for Stephens College. In June 1951, they returned to Kansas as Richards joined the staff of the Kansas Industrial Development Commission as a writer and photographer for the state magazine To the Stars. In 1952 he was named editor of the magazine and in 1957 was instrumental in changing the name of the magazine to KANSAS! which is published today by Kansas Tourism, under the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism. In the early 1950s Don organized his own company, Photography House, Inc. producing books and postcards for four presidential libraries, Boot Hill Museum, and the Kansas State Historical Society. He was a successful magazine, advertising, and architectural photographer.

In 1964 Richards joined the information office at the Menninger Foundation and a year later became director of the office, a position he held until his retirement in 1978. In 1982 he became co-owner and president of a travel agency in Overland Park and began specializing in organizing group tours for international travel. For 25 years Richards and his wife traveled the world with business and tourist groups, visiting countries in all continents except Australia.

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Entry: Richards, Donald P.

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: April 2015

Date Modified: May 2019

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.