William “Top” Richardson

WILLIAM PAYNE “TOP” RICHARDSON, 79, passed quietly on February 28, 2024, at Big Bend Hospice House in Tallahassee, Florida, after waging a difficult and courageous battle against metastatic prostate cancer.

Born November 14,1944, in Camden, New Jersey, to William D. and Clara V. (Payne) Richardson (both deceased) Bill was just ten-years-old when his father died and the family moved to Pleasantville to be near his mother’s family. 

Bill would attend Pleasantville public schools and enjoyed his younger days camping with the Boy Scouts, playing in the woods and meadows near his home, and as a pretty good homerun hitter playing Little League baseball for a Geisel & Fritch sponsored team. In high school, Bill played football for the Pleasantville Greyhounds, and he proudly wore his high school jersey throughout his life. Bill enjoyed sports all his life and loved cheering for his Eagles and Phillies, and he continued to play organized softball even into his seventies

After the school years, Bill worked for a few years as a cook for the Dennis hotel in Atlantic City,  and when the summer season ended he took his talents to Florida to escape the cold northern winter. He enjoyed food and cooking, but despite his connection with good food, the family joke was that every time Bill came home to visit, spaghetti was on the menu. 

Bill proudly served his country in the United States Army, retiring as First Sergeant after twenty-one years. Among his many military awards and decorations, Bill was awarded four air medals and two bronze stars for valor in combat while serving with the 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam.  Bill’s military service also took him to Korea and to Germany, where he collected many beautiful artifacts, which he treasured and proudly displayed in his home. 

Bill had a heart for serving, and while living in Texas after retirement,  he traveled to Tennessee and Kentucky to assist in the recovery efforts following several very destructive tornadoes in those states. Having later moved back home to New Jersey, Bill struck out single-handedly to assist local homeowners following Hurricane Sandy.   Bill would continue to demonstrate his military connection and his pride in service by joining the American Legion and the VFW, and by volunteering with the VFW Honor Guard, an all-volunteer military-style unit serving at veterans’ funerals. Bill was a very proud and committed Christian and could often be found singing in the church choir or ringing the church’s bell calling parishioners to prayer on Sunday morning. 

Bill leaves behind his loving wife, Leah (Avery), with whom he found so much happiness, whether they made their home in Absecon, Mays Landing, the mountains of North Carolina or, most recently in Tallahassee, Florida. A long-time animal lover, Bill also leaves their dog Babee and Bill’s beloved companion, Hello Kitty, to miss his loving huggies.

Bill also leaves a daughter, Karyn Harlan (Jim Wolverton) and grandchildren, Lauryn Ciambrone, Kayla Holman, Zachary and Tyler Harlan, and great- grandchildren Aubrey and Brielle Ciambrone, Cassidy Brooks and Logan Holman as well as his siblings, brothers George (Rose) and Michael, two sisters, Pat (Terry) and Tammy (Chris, deceased) and many cousins, nieces, nephews and friends, especially his associates and comrades in the military community.