Michael Jay Richards of Prospect, CT died on Friday March 5th after a long and courageous fight against cancer. He was 55 years old. Son of Florence (Lippman) Richards and the late Norman Richards, M.D., Michael was born in Lausanne, Switzerland on September 24, 1954. At the age of two he and his family settled in Waterbury, CT where he attended St. Margaret McTernan and The Taft School. Michael completed his undergraduate education at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA and later completed graduate coursework at SUNY Albany, Johnson State College in Johnson, VT and finally Harvard University in Cambridge, MA. While interning at Washington County Mental Health Services in Montpelier, VT, Michael became involved in what turned out to be a lifelong career in human services. He served as the first State Director for The Institute of Professional Practice, Inc., both in New Hampshire and then in Connecticut where he worked until his death. Throughout his career he took a particular interest in the field of negotiating, attending numerous seminars at both Harvard and Quinnipiac Universities. Michael was also a long-time member of the Connecticut Association of Non-Profits, as well as other professional organizations. On April 5, 1986 he married Joanne (Henes) Richards in Montpelier, VT. They made their home and built their family in Waterbury, CT, moving to Woodbury, CT in 1994 and to Prospect, CT in 2009. A devoted husband, doting father and dear friend to so many, Michael is survived by his wife Joanne, children Emily (Emma) and Benjamin, mother Florence Richards, sister Ellen Richards and brother Eric Richards. A Celebration of Michael's life will be held in the Meeting Room of the B'Nai Israel, 444 Main St. North, Southbury, CT, Thursday March 11 at 12 noon. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Michael's memory may be sent to the Harold Leever Regional Cancer Center at 1075 Chase Parkway, Waterbury, CT 06708. Arrangements in care of BEECHER & BENNETT, 2300 Whitney Ave., Hamden, CT.

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  1. Goodbye my friend. Thank you for all you taught me, in the work place and about life, in general. I hold wonderful memories of our time together,in NH. Those memories warm my heart & make me smile. Joanne, you & yours are in my thoughts and prayers. Love you.

  2. I have worked periodically throughout my life with the developmentally disabled. I had never felt connected to the field though and never remained in one place for long however. When I came to IPP 12 years ago I was amazed by the uniqueness and the caring I found within the organization. Sadly, I did not know Michael on a personal basis, but I knew his life’s work. He had helped in forming a loving and teaching environment for our clients, staff and he will surely be missed. My heart goes out to his wife, Joanne and his family. I know that the battle they have been through the past several years was a test of their strength and faith. God Bless— with all my love

  3. I remember what attracted me to IPP nearly 18 years ago and it was the homey atmosphere that was created here by Michael. He made it a point to know each and everyone of his coworkers and had such a down to earth spirit that all of us old timers grew to love. He created what Ct IPP is and all are correct in saying it will never be the same. My sympathies go out to you Joanne and Emily and Benjamin. No matter how much one prepares one can never determine the impact a loss will make, however I can tell you he is now in the glorious body the King has prepared for him and suffers no more. Just hold onto that!

  4. I will miss your smile and trusting in God that he will recieve you with open arms, It was a pleasure and honored to have known you. Rest in Peace.

  5. I worked for Michael at the Institute of Professional Practice in Connecticut in the late 80’s/early 90’s. I remember sitting in his office learning to read the budget for my facility. He said that, even though it was just one small facility with a small budget, the skill would be one I would continue to be able to use. He was a patient teacher. My thoughts are with his family. I know this kind man will be greatly missed.

  6. I’m so very sorry for your loss. Michael was a good man and I’m happy to have had the chance to know and work with him.

  7. IPP will never be the same to me. To me Michael was IPP and my friend, I will miss him so much and my heart is breaking. He will always be in my thoughts and prayers. Joanne and family my deepest sympathies.

  8. It is with a heavy heart that I say goodbye to you Michael, you will be greatly missed. My thoughts and prayers are with your immediate and extended family.

  9. It is with great sadness that I say goodbye to you Michael. I am deeply grateful for all that I have learned from you. I will always have immense respect for all that you have done for us and for the people in which we serve. You will be greatly missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to Joanne, Emily,Benjamin, and Talula! Let not your heart be sorrowed. Rest in Peace Michael.

  10. Michael has touched so many people with his sincerity and kindness.The world has lost a courageous compassionate humanitarian.May he rest in peace.

  11. Michael, You gave me a launch in my career, here in your family of IPP. For that I will be eternally grateful. My heart aches for your family and close friends. You were a, .One Of A Kind. Man. Your integrity and .Out of the Box. foresight changed and empowered many lives, especially the ones who couldn’t speak for themselves.Connecticut has lost it’s leader in making the quality of lives better for others. You’re presnece will reamin Unreplaceable. I am honored to have been in your circle. Fondly, Lisa

  12. Michael’s presence in these halls at IPP will live on forever, as he’s searching for his beloved dog Tallulah, his beloved wife, or .Dave…. I had the privelege of bonding with him over our shared love of our dogs as recently as Friday, the 5th, when he commiserated with me over having to bring in my pup to the vet to have her teeth pulled. He had also encouraged me to take a day or two off when she was being spayed last month, and to bring a box of kleenex to the vet for myself! This is just one example of the way he connected to others, and how he cared. He will be greatly missed, but always a part of IPP. My condolences to his lovely wife, Joanne, and to his surviving family members.

  13. Micheal-you inspired so many of us to be the best that we can be; for ourslevels and for the folks we support. I always looked up to you, there has been something inside me that never wanted to disappoint you, like a child feels about their parent. My love and condolences to Joanne, Emily and Ben. Peace be with you always

  14. My heart is breaking for Joanne, Emily and Ben and the rest of the family and close,close friends Micheal leaves behind. He made a huge impact on me as a boss, a friend and a mentor. The impact he has made on people with disabilities in CT and those of us who work with or are somehow touched by these individuals is immeasurable. I will miss you so much. Rest in peace, Mikey!

  15. My heart is heavy as I say goodbye to my mentor, my .boss., my friend. I love you dearly and will cherish all we shared forever. I will do my best to carry on without you, but things will never be the same. I love you Joanne and am here for you. Good bye Mikey, you can now rest in peace. love, sandee

  16. Our lives will never be the same without you Michael – just as they were never the same once we met you. With a heavy heart I say good bye and send my love to your family. I will miss you so.

  17. We have always appreciated the man and the opportunities he has afforded all of us. We will miss him dearly.

  18. We’ll miss you, Michael. I’m sorry to say that you and I never had the chance to be together in one place long enough to cement a deep and personal brother-in-law relationship. On the other hand, I have the most ultimate respect for the family and familial relationship you created as well as the strength of character and personal acceptance that you have demonstrated over the past six years. May you rest in the ultimate of peace – you deserve it. With love, Scott

  19. What a courageous fight and what a dedicated, extraordinary man. Michael has touched so many lives…and he will be greatly missed! Prayers for Joanne, Emma and Benjamin and the rest of Michael’s family and close friends.

  20. With deepest sorrow and sadness we send Michael our greatest respect while acknowledging his worth, his humor, his accomplishments and his life!

  21. I met Michael about 20 years ago when I first began to consult to IPP and to provide psychiatric care for some of the people in the CT IPP group homes. Michael set high standards for IPP — a measure of his commitment to the people his organization served. Under his leadership in CT, he provided an opprotunity for key members of the staff to receive specialized training in psychiatric diagnosis & treatment so that they could advocate more effectively for their clients — this remains a rather unique commitment among the non profit providers in the state. I know that I will miss his personal touch on the day-to-day operations of IPP in CT. However, he has assembled a wonderful staff who, I know, will carry on his legacy.

  22. I remember a meeting I attended and Michael was not thrilled with my choice of words as I was trying to win his approval for something. After that meeting I turned to Michael and said .Michael I have a bad mouth but a good heart. he laughed and forgave me, haha. I am so sorry for your lose Joann. You and your kids are in my thoughts and paryers. Sincerely, Kari

  23. I was very sad to hear of Michael’s passing. Michael really saw the big picture. Even in my darkest days he never took the perch away. He always believed I could fly. I owe my life to Michael and those who helped me move from the dark shadows into the light. God bless you, Michael! And prayers for his beautiful family.

  24. Joanne and Family- My heartfelt sympathy goes out to you and yours. I hope some warm memories can help ease you through this time of sorrow, and bring peace to your heart.

  25. Joanne,Emily and Ben, I am truly sorry for your loss.Michael was wonderful to all who knew him and it was my pleasure to have known him and work under him over the last 12 years. May God’s peace sustain you in all that you may endure. With Deepest sympathy. Montaya Cheeks

  26. Michael, you will be missed by all at IPP, even those of us who knew you only by the profound effect you had on others and the work you started for us here in New Hampshire. My heart goes out to your family and all who loved you. Rest in peace.

  27. Mikey was as close to me as the brother I never had. I wish him safe passage to a glorious hereafter and will miss him terribly until I can join him there. I hope Joanne and the kids will always consider us part of their family.

  28. Mikey was as close to me as the brother I never had. I wish him safe passage to a glorious hereafter and will miss him terribly until I can join him there. I hope Joanne and the kids will always consider us part of their family.

  29. We were so saddened to learn of Michaels death. On behalf of the Board of Directors of IPP, we would like to express our sincere condolences to the family, friends and coworkers of Michael Richards. Michael was an integral member of the IPP family having dedicated his lifes work to the betterment of people with developmental disabilities. It was an honor and privilege to have been associated with Michael. He will be sadly missed. Mari Schaarschmidt, President IPP Board of Directors

  30. Clare and I were so saddened to hear of Michael’s passing. Your Vermont friends will never forget your energy, humor and resilience. Our thoughts go out to Joanne, the children and the IPP family. Michael will be missed greatly.

  31. Michael was such a wonderful and caring man. I am so fortunate to have known him. My deepest sympothy to Joanne and his children. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  32. Michael, may you rest in peace and never feel any pain again. To your family, I entend my deepest sympathy. Janis Ardito

  33. Our hearts and prayers are with Michael’s entire family, and we are so saddened by your loss. I will never forget the many years of our families spending the holidays together skiing when we were young, and being together at the holidays in later years. We did not see you often, but whenever we got together we treasured our times together. Joanne, Emma and Ben, Florry, Ellen and Eric, we are so sorry for your loss. Love, The Lermans

  34. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Joanne, the children and the rest of Michael’s family and friends. His years of dedication to improving the lives of those less fortunate is admired, respected and will be greatly missed.

  35. The halls of IPP were always brighter when Michael was walking through them. He always greeted me with a smile. Michael made a difference in so many lives; the residents as well as the employees. He will be remembered for years to come. Rest in peace Michael. My deepest sympathies to Joanne, Emily, and Benjamin.

  36. I extend my heartfelt sympathy to Michael’s family as we remember a life so very well lived. Michael loved people and was happiest when he could help make a difference in someone’s life. I first met Michael as a camper at Camp Hi-Rock and then as a staff member. He eventually became the water ski director. You can tell by his enthusiasm that he enjoyed teaching and seeing the many achievements of those he was instructing. I will always treasure the many memories from camp but more importantly, I will remember Michael’s contribution and service to the live’s he touched personally. Michael will be remembered as a very special person……

  37. Joanne, I am so sorry about your loss. My heart goes out to you and your family. Michael was a wonderful person, and he will be greatly missed. I remember him always greeting me with a smile and a question .how are you doing alma?. The office will never be the same without him. With deepest sympathy Alma Pistov

  38. Michael, you never knew what an inspiration you were to others. I often shared the story of your courageous battle with those facing similar challenges, letting them know that they too can rise above their illness. I truly believed it because you had done it so many times! You can now rest in peace, knowing that your caring ways and hard work impacted so many lives. For those of us who have been around since the dawn of day, you were our mentor, our leader, the person who knew how to light our fire. Though you will be greatly missed, your legacy will live forever. Joanne, my heart breaks for you. You and your children will always be in my thoughts and prayers.

  39. My deepest sympathies to Joanne and the entire family. Although I have not seen Michael in many years I remember him and Joanne so very fondly. His fight was so brave and strong in these recent years. How he lived his whole life – and also faced adversity – in such a positive way is an inspiration and will live on in memoriam. My prayers and thoughts are with you as you mourn the loss, yet celebrate Michael’s life.

  40. Words are escaping me at this moment of pure sadness for all of us that will be missing you Michael. My thoughts are with your family. I’ve spent my entire adult life at IPP and have learned so much about being a good person because of knowing Michael and learning a lot from him through the years. Michael – you will be so missed – a part of IPP has left with you.

  41. Michael(Froggy)Richards attended YMCA Camp HiRock in the Bekshires for 12 years, first as a camper, then a CIT and finally a counselor and waterski instructor. In this beautiful outdoor setting coupled with the pervasive vitality of loving and concerned persons, he was enabled to commit himself to a lifelong carreer in human services. He served the camp well and was a devoted role model for the many campers he served. He will long be remembered, not only for what he gave us at HiRock, but also for all that he dd in making a difference in the lives of so many people. Well done good and faithful servant!

  42. My heart goes out to you Joanne and your children, Ben and Emma. Michael was such an important influence on my life from the day in 1986 when I met you both At the IPP office on Anthony Street. He gave me a chance to grow into a position I didn’t know anything about .Nursing for DD clients.. As I learned he encourage me, as IPP grew so did I. The compassion and understanding he provided me during a time when my life was turned upside down was so genuine and sincere I survived and continued to grow. He cared deeply about everyone. I remember him driving staff to work during snow storms. He allowed my son to work off community service hours at IPP after a high school scavenger hunt went wrong. An experience he will never forget. He was role model a mentor and a friend. I will miss you Michael!

  43. I first met Michael in 1992 when he interviewed me for work in the PP program. There were only 8 children in the program at the time–a small and close knit group that shared many celebrations together. It’s that program that gave me my family. I thank Michael for his role in that gift. I remember Michael as someone who always tried to restore peace where there was disharmony. I pray that he may rest in the same peace he tried to create in others.

  44. Joanne, Emma, and Ben, I am so sorry for your loss. Michael will be missed by many, especially by me. My thoughts and prayers are with you, Joanne and your entire family.

  45. Michael was instrumental in the placement of our special needs son in 1992. He was the model of professionalism blended with compassion, an unbeatable combination in his chosen profession. May his memory be a blessing.

  46. my deepest condolences to all of the family and staff on the loss of Michael and many, many, thanks for all he contributed to care and concern for our citizens with special needs.

  47. With my deepest sympathies to the Richards family. Michael will be deeply missed by all who love him. Light & Love, Katherine Lorensen

  48. I unfortunately never had the opportunity to meet Michael. Although I always felt I had, as I felt his energy and understood what an amazing person he was through his daughter Emma. Emma was my coworker for several years and is still my dear friend. If her light is an indication of her father’s, I’m sure he touched people, made them smile and created lots of laughter everywhere he went. My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Richards family. Emma is an extension of my family, and I feel blessed to have known her father Michael through her.

  49. I just heard of Michael’s passing. Joanne, I have many fond memories of the eight years I spent at IPP and working for Michael and with you. Words cannot express my feelings for your and your children’s loss. I’ll always remember the good times and the laughs we had.

  50. Joanne, I am truly sorry for your loss. Michael was an extraordinary man with excellent qualities and loved and respected what he had with IPP. It was evident in the success of IPP CT. I am truly truly sorry for your loss. May your family and friends, and Michael be your strength during this difficult time.

  51. Is it with great sadness I say goodbye. It was a great pleasure knowing you and most of all observing your style of leadership. I was deeply saddened when I learnt of your going, but I know without a doubt you have left a legacy fills with dignity, value and most of all your outstanding courage. You will be missed. My heart goes out to those you have left behind. May God’s peace and grace shine upon them!

  52. I am very sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with your family. Michael was a phenomenal mentor and will be remembered always.

  53. It is true…our IPP Woodbridge office hasn’t been the same since Michael’s departure. He was a quiet presence, but one that i truly miss. Joanne, your strength and courage is inspiring as you show up to work everyday and carry on with little Tullulah. I enjoyed reading the guestbook entries here. It goes to show that Michael had such a powerful impact on so many people. Christy Tottenham

  54. I was recently saddened to hear of the passing of Michael. My first real .boss. and mentor, I carry with me what I have learned from Michael today. I have fond memories of the eleven years I spent at IPP New Haven and will cherish them. My prayers to Joann and the family.

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