MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

July 25, 2013

Woman remembered for ‘class’

Muskogee resident died in crash on turnpike

By Wendy Burton
Phoenix Staff Writer

— A Muskogee woman described as the “epitome of class and perfection” by friends died in a car wreck Thursday morning on her way to work in Tulsa.

Barbara Richardson, 52, was an inspiring woman, her friends said. She worked for Clear Channel Communications and was married to Attorney Chad Richardson for more than 10 years.

“I don’t think there is anybody I can speak higher of,” said long-time friend Heather Hiller. “She was the most giving, wonderful person. She was strong, giving, wonderful, perfect. She was a fourth-degree black belt in kickboxing and she just was the epitome of class and perfection and something that we all strive to be.”

Barbara Richardson was killed about 8 a.m. Thursday on the Muskogee Turnpike, about one mile east of Coweta near mile-marker 14, according to an Oklahoma Highway Patrol report.

She was driving a 2006 BMW northbound on the turnpike in the inside lane, when she came up on traffic moving at a slower speed. Richardson swerved to the right and her car ran off the road, struck a culvert, vaulted over a creek and struck another concrete culvert, the report says.

She was pinned in her car for about 25 minutes, then transported to St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa where she was pronounced dead. Richardson was wearing her seat belt, and the vehicle’s airbags did deploy. The cause of the collision is cited as “inattention,” the report says.

Friends and family who gathered at her home Thursday shared memories of Richardson.

Ginger Kelly said, “Barbara was the kind of woman we all aspired to be. She was the best of the best.”

Sharon Harper said she considered Richardson one of her best friends.

“I was her Muskogee BFF, that was her term, because she has a friend everywhere,” Harper said. “She couldn’t go anywhere without there being someone she knew or who had a story about her.”

Harper said Richardson was always focused more on other people than on herself.

“Her word was ‘goodness,’ ‘That person is just goodness,’ she’d say,” Harper said. “She didn’t perceive her own greatness at all. Goodness is the only word that keeps coming to mind. That’s what she always looked for in other people.”

Harper said she can’t imagine “how many people are crying today about what happened.”

“I don’t think there’s a Rolodex big enough for people that counted her as their friend,” she said.

Reach Wendy Burton at (918) 684-2926 or wburton@muskogeephoenix.com.