Ethel Rasmussen Richardson

Honored by:Susan Richardson McKay
Brick location:B:14  map

Ethel Rasmussen Richardson was born November 13, 1908 to Danish parents, Julia Nelson Rasmussen and Louis H. Rasmussen. She grew up in Harlan, Iowa, the third of four children. Her father owned a mill, a family business begun by Ethel’s grandfather. Her siblings were Melvin, Evelyn, and Wesley.

Ethel attended Iowa State University from 1926-1930, majoring in Home Economics. She also played a saxophone in the ISU band, and it was during band practices that she met Leon Franklin (Dick) Richardson, her future husband. Dick grew up nearby in Collins, Iowa, the son of Leon Franklin and Gertrude Shank Richardson. Dick's father was a physician and his mother was a teacher and also founded the Collins, Iowa library.

Ethel was an adventuresome young woman. The summer after her junior year at Iowa State, she took a train to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. She spent the summer working at Roosevelt Lodge waiting tables and playing her saxophone for lodge guests. After she graduated from ISU, she left for Washington state where she taught Home Economics in the state of Washington. She signed a teaching contract that prohibited her from vices such as using tobacco or alcohol and a termination clause should she marry.

In October 1931 Ethel and Dick were married in Harlan, Iowa. They left for the West coast, making their first home in San Francisco. Dick was an engineer for Bailey Meter Company, and he continued working for this same company throughout his professional life. Ethel and Dick became parents of three children Lee (born 1936), Gary (born 1938), and Susan (born 1942). Ethel did substitute school teaching as the children grew older and was very involved in community and church activities. In 1994 Ethel and Dick will celebrate 63 years of marriage and 86 years of life. They live in Cleveland Ohio and are independent and active.

Ethel and Dick still remember their ISU days with great affection. Although only Ethel’s name is on the brick, if this plaza were also for "heroes," my father's brick would be next to hers!

Ethel passed away on March 3, 1997, she was 88 years old

Submitted on 6/16/94

Updated on 9/24/97