Memorable Manitobans: Gary Robert Richardson (1950-2005)
Born at Winnipeg on 14 June 1950 to Jessie May Hutcheson Wilson (1911-1989) and Robert James Richardson (1908-1980), he grew up at Strathclair until the age of seven, at which time he and his parents moved to West End Winnipeg. He went on to work for the Winnipeg Fire Department for 23 years.
Retiring from the Winnipeg Fire Department in 2000 with the rank of Deputy-Chief, he moved to take the position of Fire Chief for the City of Ottawa in 2001. While there, he was known as an innovator who never shied away from controversy, and was described as being an “out-of-the-box thinker.” A proponent of a controversial plan to merge the fire and paramedic service, he also made waves when he sought to turn Ottawa’s fire department into a money-making venture by leasing surplus equipment, producing safety videos, and monitoring fire alarms for the private sector. Following the amalgamation of Ottawa Fire Services, he took a buyout and returned to Winnipeg to work for a fire prevention company.
In 1967 he married his first wife, Paulette Therese Richardson, with whom he had two children. After divorce, he married Marie Gauthier (1956-2005) in 1995. He lived an active life, travelling, snowmobiling, and riding motorcycles. He also drove patient transport, was part owner of a golf course development north of Winnipeg, and owner of a small hotel outside the city. He was appreciated for his sense of humour and entertaining storytelling.
He and his wife Marie were killed in a motorcycle accident near Marchand on their way to their home at Woodridge on 2 September 2005. He was buried in the Virden Cemetery.
“Ex-Ottawa fire chief, wife killed,” Firefighting News, 4 September 2005.
Obituary [Marie Gauthier-Richardson], Winnipeg Free Press, 7 September 2005.
“Gary Robert Richardson,” Shepherd/White family tree, Ancestry.
This page was prepared by Lois Braun.
Page revised: 25 August 2022