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Services for Oregon Secretary of State to Be Held in Central Point, Salem

Secretary of State Dennis Richardson's courageous battle with brain cancer came to an end on Tuesday night.

Posted: Feb 27, 2019 6:27 AM
Updated: Mar 1, 2019 5:31 PM

SALEM, Ore. --

UPDATE: On Friday, the Secretary of State's office announced state funeral services for Dennis Richardson at the State Capitol in Salem. But Richardson was a man with deep roots in Southern Oregon, and he will appear here for a public service before returning to the Capitol one last time.

According to Richardson's former Chief of Staff, there will be a viewing and funeral service at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints at 3900 Grant Road in Central Point. The viewing begins at 9 a.m. until 10:30 a.m., and the funeral service will be from 11 a.m. to noon.

On Wednesday, Secretary Richardson's body will lie in state at the Capitol Rotunda in Salem starting at 9 a.m., and then the state funeral will begin at 2 p.m.

(Updated 3/1/19 at 5:30 p.m.)

INITIAL REPORT: Oregon's Secretary of State Dennis Richardson has passed away at his home surrounded by family and friends, according to Deputy Secretary of State Leslie Cummings.

On Tuesday, February 26, at approximately 9 p.m., Richardson died after a protracted battle with brain cancer. He was 69 years old.

Cummings said Richardson was dedicated to accomplishing the work the people of Oregon elected him to do. Richardson took the reins of office in January 2017, with goals to improve the business practices of audits, elections, archives, corporations and small businesses. Cummings says Richardson's work ethic inspired staff to "up their games." 

His personal motto was the Latin phrase "Pro Tanto Quid Retribuamus," meaning "having been given much, what will you give in return?" Cummings says his challenge to those in the Secretary of State’s office is to give their very best to each other and to Oregon each and every day.

Richardson served as a combat helicopter pilot in Vietnam, spent 30 years on his legal career in Central Point and 19 years in public service. He was a father of nine and a grandfather of 31.

As a state lawmaker, Richardson served as representative for House District 4, which includes parts of Jackson and Josephine counties, between 2003 and 2015. After an unsuccessful bid for governor in 2014, Richardson won his spot as Secretary of State in the 2016 election.

Governor Kate Brown has ordered at that flags at all Oregon public institutions be flown at half-staff in Richardson's honor today and on the day of his internment from sunrise to sundown.

The state's governor has the duty to appoint a new Secretary of State, and Brown's office said that it will "begin the process of reviewing candidates" and make an appointment in the coming weeks.

Since news of his passing emerged, public figures who knew him have been issuing tributes to his life and career:

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum

“I was saddened to wake up to the news of the death of my friend and our Secretary of State Dennis Richardson. Dennis was a wonderful and caring person—and, the quintessential public servant. His optimism for making Oregon stronger and fairer was contagious. I will miss our 'check-in' lunches in Salem, where we talked about a wide variety of topics affecting both of our agencies. At our last lunch he gave me a coin with his motto engraved on it: 'Having been given much, what will you give in return?' I will treasure it always.

“From the Oregon Department of Justice, we send our condolences to his wife and family, friends and community. And we will all take Dennis' motto to heart as we continue the work of making Oregon better every day. Thank you, Secretary Richardson, for your extraordinary contributions to our state. You will be greatly missed.”

U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Dennis Richardson. I will always have fond memories of serving with Dennis in the state legislature, and tremendous appreciation for his dedication to serving our state. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. Rest in peace, Mr. Secretary.”

Oregon Department of State Lands Director Vicki Walker

"Throughout Secretary Richardson’s time on the State Land Board, he persistently sought to preserve Oregon’s Common School Fund legacy by advocating for actions that would most benefit Oregonians and their public schools.

"Secretary Richardson’s expectations of accountable government raised the bar for the service provided by the Department of State Lands and state government. His dedication to good government set an example for us all, and he will be greatly missed."

Oregon Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick

“Dennis Richardson was a kind and decent man. He served his country with distinction in the military. He served his community of Southern Oregon and the State of Oregon with integrity and dedication. I had the pleasure of serving with Secretary Richardson in the Legislature for many years. He loved this state and we will miss him.”

Oregon House GOP Leader Carl Wilson

"We have suffered a great loss with the passing of Dennis Richardson. Dennis was a steadfast man who loved family, his country, the State of Oregon, and the people he served. This loss is a difficult one for us all. His death will be deeply mourned by all his former colleagues in the Oregon House of Representatives.”

U.S. Representative Greg Walden

"I am so saddened to learn of Secretary of State Dennis Richardson’s passing. Dennis was such a kind, caring, and thoughtful friend. A wonderful public servant, and a deeply loving husband and parent. Dennis’ quiet competence and civility is such a rarity in today's world. I feel blessed to have known and worked with him for so many years. Mylene and I are sending our prayers to Cathy and their children. Dennis served his country with honor and his body of work leaves Oregon better for the next generation."

Oregon Governor Kate Brown

"Dan and I are saddened to hear this news today. Our hearts are with Secretary of State Richardson's family, friends, and fellow lawmakers today.

"Regardless of what side of the aisle his colleagues sat on, we all knew Dennis' kind heart guided his career of service to the people of Oregon. His reputation for perseverance not only guided him through the fight with cancer, it also gave us all reassurance that he was fighting cancer with the same determination he brought to work every day."

Oregon Senator Jackie Winters

“I am deeply saddened today to hear of the passing of my dear friend, Dennis Richardson. Oregon has lost a tireless warrior who continuously motivated those around him with his powerful presence, and strong ethics. It was my honor to serve in the Legislature with Dennis and to call him my friend. I am grateful for our phone calls and the opportunities I had to tell him how proud I was of him.

"Dennis was a true American, his life was one of dedication and service from his time in the military, his time in the Legislature, his time as SOS, and most importantly, his job as husband, father and grandfather. He was a man of great faith, and he lived out his faith every day of his life. I would like to thank his family for sharing him with us for all these years. The Richardson family is in my thoughts and prayers.”

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