Services today for auctioneer, salesman Pete Richardson

Pete Richardson, the legendary auctioneer with a talent for telling stories and a deep love for the community, will be remembered at a Life Well Celebrated service today at The Fountains Conference Center.

Born Peter Edward Richardson, the 67-year-old Salisbury native died on Dec. 14, apparently of a heart attack.

“He was Delmarva. He was Wicomico County, larger than life. He and his late father were the best storytellers you’d ever meet,” his friend Mike Dunn said.

Brice Stump, who writes for the Salisbury Independent, knew Richardson more than 40 years.

“Pete was an excellent businessman who was highly respected by his peers and customers … He told me his auctions were shows, opportunities to entertain bidders and the public as he used his skills to increase bids, which profited sellers and his bottom line. He took great pride in making his auctions fun and exciting events while setting a professional standard of excellence. He was all-around great person,” Stump said.

Wicomico County Councilman Joe Holloway said Richardson’s death left him “shocked and saddened.”

“It was very unexpected. I’ve known him 20 or 25 years. He served his community well. He’ll be missed,” Holloway said.

County Executive Bob Culver called Richardson’s death “tragic.”

“Pete was a larger-than-life character, from his auction sales to his personality. He was a great guy. We had known each other since junior high school.

“Our families knew each other. Four or five of us would vaccinate his father’s hogs when I was growing up. We’d hold them while the veterinarian stuck them. My mother liked me working but I had to get rid of the clothes after,” he said, referring to the strong farm smell.

“Pete could tell you a story. He didn’t tell fables or story book stories. He’d tell you about real people. What was so amazing is that Pete knew so many people.

“He wasn’t afraid to tell me ‘Bob, I don’t agree with that,’ but he was one of my largest supporters. He was a good friend,” Culver said.

The son of the son of the late Vaughn E. Richardson and Mary Jane McMonigal Richardson, he is survived by family including his wife, Connie, and their daughter, Dana.

A 1968 graduate of James M. Bennett High School and Wheeling University, Richardson owned and operated Pete Richardson Auction Sales in Willards for 40 years.

Positioned on 20 acres, the company presented live auctions, live and Internet auctions and Internet auctions.

The company also sells property, antiques, farm and construction equipment, restaurant equipment, firearms, manufacturing and printing equipment.

Deeply interested in the county, Richardson was a member of several organizations including the Wicomico County Liquor Control Board, Wicomico County Soil Conservation District, Hebron Savings Bank, Salisbury Gun Club, Wicomico Yacht Club, Green Hill Country Club, Salisbury Elk’s Lodge, Salisbury Moose Lodge, Maryland Standardbred Breeders Association and East Side Men’s Club.

In his most recent Facebook posts, in October, he congratulated Aldo’s Ristorante Italiano in Baltimore on its 19th anniversary.

After news of his unexpected death circulated in the community, friends, including Wicomico County Councilman Larry Dodd posted sentiments.

“He was so involved in his community and our county. Whenever he had a concern, he would call me and he was such a wonderful person to talk to. He served on so many committees for the count,”  Dodd wrote.

“I remember his father was also an auctioneer and a community legend. I used to go to many of his auctions and bought a lot of antiques from Pete and that goes back many years. Thank you for being a friend and thank you for supporting my campaign.

“You will be greatly missed, Pete. Thoughts and prayers going out to Pete Richardson and his friends and family,” Dodd wrote.

Memo Diriker commented, “So very sad. RIP, Pete.”

Elaine Davis McNure called Richardson “a dear friend to our family.”

“There was never a dull moment or story left untold when Mr. Pete was around. He was always a lot of fun when we were growing up and then became a source of advice and guidance and was always a good person to have in our corner as we became adults.

“As kids, I think he gave each of us three of us our first job. After having a garage full of furniture delivered to help furnish our first house along with a cookbook, his only advice to me when I married Moe was that a good wife had to just learn to write a check whenever her husband bought something.

“That was always a standing joke every time I would be at a sale, right up to his last sale just a few weeks ago.

“Pistol Pete, you will certainly be missed. Thanks for many real life lessons throughout the year and an endless number of stories to tell at Sunday night dinners,” she wrote.

“He was truly a great guy,” Dunn said.

He and Richardson served on the Compensation Committee, whose members recommended a pay increase for the County Executive.

“He dabbled in everything. His business was one of the largest in the mid-Atlantic. And, he was the largest land owner in Wicomico County,” Dunn said. “His death is a big loss for the community.”

Today’s service at the The Fountains begins at 11 a.m. The Rev. George Patterson will officiate.

Burial will be private.

 

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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