Doug Richards remembered
Faribault County recently suffered the loss of the recently retired Honorable Judge Douglas Richards.
Since 2012, Richards battled a rare form of blood cancer known as multiple myeloma. There is no cure for the cancer and since his cancer prognosis eight years ago, Richards fought tooth and nail through chemotherapy treatments and stem cell transplants which can greatly compromise the immune system.
Judge Richards became the Faribault County District Court judge back in 1995, and prior to that, was an attorney in Faribault County for many years. He earned his undergraduate degree at Hamline University and earned his degree in law at the William Michell College of Law.
Orv Terhark, Faribault County District Court stenographer for many years, now retired, worked alongside Richards.
“Judge Richards has always had remarkable patience,” Terhark reflected of his friend. “It was important to him that all litigants in his courtroom had equal and ample time to be heard, no matter how hectic our schedule was.”
Retired attorney Chuck Frundt recalls the State of Minnesota was considering lessening the number of judges across the state, and that included Faribault County’s district judge.
“We attorneys were worried about what would happen,”?says Frundt. “Many of us Faribault County attorneys stood together and supported Judge?Richard’s judgeship. We wrote letters, we called Governor Arne Carlson to let them know we needed Judge Richards.”
And the state listened. Faribault County did not lose its district judge when the state lessened its judgeships.
“He was a good judge, a fair judge,” says Frundt. “And when he was an attorney, as a competing attorney, he was good, he was congenial. A solid person to have in the courtroom.”
Chuck’s wife Rita Frundt recalls Judge Richards saying at his retirement party that he liked being an attorney, but loved being a judge.
Current Faribault County District Judge Troy Timmerman said he spent his entire career under Judge Richards when he moved to the county in 1994.
“He had a quiet strength about him,” says Judge Timmerman. “He was able to maintain control of the courtroom while still remaining approachable.”
“I worked with Judge Richards for so many years, and regardless of who was involved, or how it panned out in the courtroom, he always treated everyone with dignity and respect,” says Faribault County’s victim witness coordinator Deb Weiderhoft. “The loss of Judge Richards is a great one that can be felt throughout the community.”
Before his death, Judge Richards spent many years participating in the local Relay For Life event. In 2017, the Faribault County Register had the opportunity to speak with him about his battle with cancer.
“The best thing in life is to keep a positive focus on things,” Richards told the Register. “There’s no need to think negative thoughts, stay positive. Keeping positive is not going to cure your disease, but it will give you better days, and it is important to make every day count.”