Many knew Michael “Mike” David Richards from his Southport store, “Worms and Coffee.”
Tourists stopped to take photos beside the infamous sign and some left with a T-shirt showcasing the store’s unique name. For locals, the convenience store became a regular pit stop once they’d spoken with Mr. Richards. Drawn in by his sense of humor and the twinkle in his eye, they’d return again and again for his advice and generosity.
Mr. Richards died June 21, 2015, at the age of 70.
Carole, Mr. Richards’ wife, said her husband loved people and had “the gift of gab” that kept them coming back. The couple met in childhood and have been sweethearts most of their lives. They complemented each other, she said, and would have celebrated 50 years together this August.
Mr. Richards was also fond of a good joke and wasn’t above playing one on unsuspecting customers. Mrs. Richards remembers times her husband glued quarters to the ground and watched as people tried to take them. Other days, he’d swap out the store’s mannequins, Daisy and George, with real people to give his customers a scare. And of course there’s the time he advertised invisible fish for just $0.50–and “people fell for it.”
But it wasn’t his jokes he was known for; it was his generosity and tenacity people remember most.
“I admired [that] if he believed in something, he stood up for it,” said Mike Constable, a longtime friend of Mr. Richards’.
Karla Squier, another close friend, agreed and knew from firsthand experience working with Mr. Richards at Brunswick Family Assistance how much he would do for a cause in which he believed. As the former treasurer for Brunswick Family Assistance, Mr. Richards transported a hotel’s worth of pillows and blankets to be given to local families in need. The hotel was donating the items and Mr. Richards stepped up to bring them where they were most needed.
“Other people only seem to have time for themselves,” Ms. Squier said. “Mike did the extra.”
People in the community also valued Mr. Richards’ political advice, according to his wife. People called about community issues and he wasn’t afraid of sharing his opinion and getting involved.
Mr. Richards helped with the 2012 campaign for Frank Williams, a Brunswick County commissioner. He actively supported the candidates in whom he believed, his involvement a quality Mr. Williams found rare. He fought for what he believed and shared his opinions freely.
Bernest Hewett heard many of Mr. Richards’ opinions over the years on politics, living and everyday lives. They didn’t always agree with each other, but Mr. Hewett could always count on his friend to listen. He could “disagree without being disagreeable,” according to Mr. Williams.
“He probably would have made one of the best politicians in the county,” Mr. Hewett said. “He’ll be missed, I’ll tell you that.”
He opted out of running for any political positions because of how time consuming they are, according to his wife. He wanted to leave time for the golf course, where he scored two holes-in-one.
He passed his love of golfing down to his daughter, Christine “Chris” Richards, by taking her to tournaments. She cherished time spent with her dad and said he taught her how to be a parent to her own daughter by giving her lifelong unconditional love and support.
“I feel like his strength and optimism on life helped teach me how to approach life,” Ms. Richards said.
Since his death, “Worms and Coffee” has been “swamped with cards and customers” sharing their condolences, Mrs. Richards said. She now fondly remembers the way her husband made her laugh, the love they shared and the way he “had an answer for everything.”
Mr. Richards is survived by his wife, Carole Richards; two daughters, Michelle Richards and Christine Richards and her wife, Lisa Zodtner; and one granddaughter, Brittney Muckler.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015, at Holden Beach Chapel. All are welcome to attend.
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Amanda Thames is the obituary writer for Port City Daily. Reach her at 910-772-6319 or firstname.lastname@example.org.