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Former Lands & Mines Minister goes home

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President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf joined host of family and friends at the funeral service of the former Deputy Minister for Administration, Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy, late Joseph Gottlieb Richards, at the First United Methodist Church.

An Executive Mansion release said President Sirleaf at the head of a number of former and current officials of government, paid last respect to the distinguished public servant. The late Joe Richards will be remembered for his tremendous contributions in the field of mining, geology, hydrology, cartography, energy, photo-geological interpretation and map-making.

His outstanding role in partnering with a Dutch geologist, Cornelius Bloot, was responsible for the discovery of the Nimba ore deposit, following which the famous Liberian-American-Swedish Minerals Company (LAMCO) was established for its exploitation.

In recognition of his pivotal role, he was decorated as Commander, Order of the North Star by the Swedish Government for his accomplishment. Similarly, the late Joe Richards was given an Award by the German Government for investigating and mapping the iron ore deposit at Bong Mines.

The late Richards was appointed by the late President William R. Tolbert, Jr. as the first Director General of the General Services Agency in 1971. He later resigned in 1973. In December 1976, he accepted to bring into fruition the Liberian Industrial Free Zone Authority (LIFZA) on Bushrod Island until it was grounded to a halt in 1980 following the 1980 coup.

He was appointed Deputy Minister for Administration at the Ministry of Lands, Mines & Energy by the late President William R. Tolbert, Jr. in 1974. In 1984, the late President Samuel K. Doe appointed the deceased to the position of Deputy Minister for Administration at the Ministry of Lands, Mines & Energy – a post he served with distinction.

In consideration of his selfless, loyal and dedicated services to the Liberian Government, President Sirleaf, who is Grand Master of the Orders of Distinction, admitted him into the Humane Order of African Redemption with the Grade of Knight Great Band.

In addition to his life in public service, the deceased was a renowned entrepreneur, farmer, an author, poet, founding member of the Liberian Businessmen’s Association now LIBA.  He was also the founder and member of several clubs, including the social club Vingt Jeune Homme (Twenty Young Men); Invincible Eleven (IE) Football Club which was founded in 1943 at which time he served as the first Captain.

He was joined in holy matrimony with his fourth grade classmate Miss Anna Lucretia Sherman on December 29, 1950, which union was blessed with five children. To the credit, from the dozens of Liberians who benefitted from his tutelage at the Bureau of Mines now the Ministry of Lands, Mines & Energy, six proudly emerged as Ministers.

Family sources are quoted as saying the late Hon. Joseph G. Richards died on Wednesday, August 5, 2015 at the hour of 4:45 a.m. at his residence in Mamba Point, Monrovia after a brief of illness.  Meanwhile, the remains of the late Joseph G. Richards was taken to Margibi County for interment.-Press Release

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