John Richardson Jr., 93, a former New York investment banker who served as president of Radio Free Europe from 1961 to 1969 and then as assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs until 1977, died Dec. 26 at a retirement community in Bethesda. The cause was congestive heart failure and pneumonia.
His wife, the former Thelma “Bonnie” Ingram, a homemaker, died Nov. 29 at the retirement community. The cause was a stroke. Both deaths were confirmed by a daughter, Catherine Munch.
Mr. Richardson was born in Milton, Mass., and was an Army paratrooper in Europe during World War II. He graduated from Harvard University in 1943 and from its law school in 1949.
He was a Wall Street lawyer and then partner at Paine Webber before joining Radio Free Europe. After his State Department work, he was president from 1978 to 1986 of Youth for Understanding, a student-exchange program.
While at Paine Webber, he was named president of the International Rescue Committee, a relief agency. He was later a founding staff member of the U.S. Institute of Peace, a founding board member and past chairman of the National Endowment of Democracy and a board member of many educational and service organizations. He was a past board chairman of River Road Unitarian Universalist Church in Bethesda.
Mrs. Richardson was born in Louisiana. She received a bachelor’s degree from Coker College in Hartsville, S.C., and a master’s degree in counseling from George Washington University.
The Richardsons wed in 1945, and their survivors include six daughters, Eva Selek-Teleki of Cairo, Teren de Cossy of Santa Cruz, Calif., Lee Taylor of London, Hope Gravelly of Los Angeles, Catherine Munch of Aptos, Calif., and Hetty Richardson of Orono, Maine; six grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. Mrs. Richardson is also survived by a sister.
— The Washington Post