Ulasea Richardson

105-year-old Randallstown Resident Worked As A Longshoreman And Remained Active Late In Life

July 27, 2009|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

Ulasea Richardson, a retired longshoreman who remained active even though he had crossed the century mark, died July 16 from complications of prostate cancer at his son's Randallstown home.

He was a 105.

Mr. Richardson, a son of farmers, was born and raised in Pinewood, S.C., where he attended public schools.

He was 14 when he left home in 1918 to take a job delivering water to Atlantic Coast Line Railroad section crews who were repairing railroad tracks.

He left the railroad in 1923 and moved to Baltimore, where he went to work in an asphalt plant.

He became a longshoreman in 1930 and worked on the Baltimore waterfront for 37 years, before retiring in 1967.

Mr. Richardson lived for more than 40 years in his Jonquil Avenue home in Northwest Baltimore, until moving to his son and daughter-in-law's home after turning 102.

He drove his own car until he was in his 90s and, after achieving centenary status, continued mowing his lawn and that of a nearby neighbor.

Mr. Richardson also enjoyed doing his own yardwork and household odd jobs. He liked walking and in recent years used a cane in order to keep moving.

He also loved dancing and playing cards.

"You name the card game and he played it," said Laura A. Richardson, his daughter-in-law, who is a retired registered nurse.

Mr. Richardson, who was born when Theodore Roosevelt was president, was elated when Barack Obama was elected president last year, family members said.

"He always voted and voted in the last presidential election," said Mrs. Richardson. "He thought when Obama was elected that it was wonderful. He said he didn't think he'd live long enough to see the day when an African-American was elected president."

When Mr. Richardson turned 100, family and friends honored him with a big party at Martin's West.

An accomplished storyteller, Mr. Richardson liked entertaining listeners with stories from the old days.

"He could always go back and tell you different things that had happened during his lifetime. He loved talking about the past," Mrs. Richardson said.

Mr. Richardson was a stylish dresser who liked wearing suits that he had purchased at the old Hamburger's men's clothing store in downtown Baltimore.

"No matter what color suit or overcoat he wore - and they were all beautiful - he had a matching hat," said his daughter-in-law, who said he carefully stored his wardrobe in special garment bags.

"And, he always had his shoes highly shined," she said.

In terms of achieving longevity, Mr. Richardson avoided drinking and smoking.

"He always cooked for himself and ate a bowl of oatmeal and had three cups of coffee and a glass of milk every day," Mrs. Richardson said. "He ate lots of fresh vegetables, loved rye bread, and enjoyed steaks and hot dogs."

Mr. Richardson, who had retained his mental acumen, was still reading and writing, despite the onset of cataracts.

"Up until two weeks before his death, he was still bathing himself and shaving," Mrs. Richardson said.

Mr. Richardson's first marriage to Louise Hicks ended in divorce. His wife of 31 years, the former Lottie Thomas, died in 1988.

He had been a longtime member of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, and for the past decade had been a member of the Christian Community Church of God, where services were held July 25.

Also surviving are his son, Ulysses Richardson of Elkridge; two grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

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