Charles Richards

Charles Richards

Veteran journalist Charles Richards, longtime owner of The Regional News, dies

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By Bob Bong

Charles Richards, a veteran community journalist whose family owned The Regional News from 1947 to 2014, passed away Thursday at his Palos Heights home.

The Regional News was founded in 1941 and is the oldest business in Palos Heights. Its original coverage area was Palos Heights and Palos Park. Mr. Richards’ father, Carl, purchased the paper in 1947. Mr. Richards took ownership in 1970.

Mr. Richards, 81, retired in 2005 and turned over the company’s reins to his daughter, Amy.

In 2014, the family sold The Regional News, a sister newspaper, The Reporter, and its offices and printing plant to Southwest Community Publishing Co.

“Charles Richards was a giant. It has been our honor to sustain and to enhance his legacy of high-quality journalism delivered over multiple channels to deaserving communities like Palos Heights and its nrighbors,” said Mark Hornung, president and chief operating officer of Southwest Regional Publishing.

Mr. Richards was a longtime presence in Palos Heights and served two terms as president of the Palos Area Chamber of Commerce (as did his father).

He was a dedicated newspaperman and served as president and treasurer of the Cook County Suburban Publishers Association. He also served a term on the board of the Calumet Ben Franklin Club.

Mr. Richards began working at the paper while in high school. He studied journalism at the University of Missouri and earned a graduate degree in business.

He returned to the paper in 1965 and learned all aspects of the business. He worked as a reporter, photographer, editor, ad manager, and circulation manager. In 1967, he led the paper’s conversion from letterpress to offset printing.

In 1970, he bought the Regional from his father. In 1983, the paper expanded its coverage area to include Orland Park. It won more than 600 awards for excellence under his leadership including being named best Small Weekly in Illinois five times by the Illinois Press Association.

In 1986, Mr. Richards bought The Reporter, which had been founded in 1960 and covered the communities of Evergreen Park, Oak Lawn, Chicago Ridge, Palos Hills, Worth, and Hickory Hills.

He retired in 2005 and his daughter took over.

In 2014, the family sold the business to Southwest Community Publishing, which operated the Desplaines Valley News in Summit, and the Clear-Ridge Reporter and Southwest News Herald on Chicago’s Southwest Side.

After the sale, Mr. Richards would drop by the Palos Heights office from time to time to let us know that he thought we were doing a good job with the papers.

Survivors include his wife, Gerri (nee Foley); daughter, Amy; grandson Sullivan; and sister, Emily Holmes.

Visitation will be Wednesday from 9:30 a.m. until time of service at 11 a.m. at the Robert J. Sheehy & Sons Funeral Home, 9000 W. 151st Street, Orland Park.

Interment Palos Oak Hill Cemetery

Please leave a memory for the family on Charles’ Tribute Wall at www.sheehyfh.com or by calling 708-857-7878.

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