History has shown that there are leaders and there are followers. Richmond Township recently loss one of its truly great leaders, former Supervisor James Edward McKiernan. Jim passed away on September 14, 2019. Jim devoted over three decades service to our township with twelve of those years as Township Supervisor (1984-1996). He was a farmer who loved our rural community. He led the fight to keep our Township rural and keep the landfill out of our community.
Jim's nephew George Gonczar provided a truly memorable eulogy for his Uncle. The Township Board would like to share it with you. Here is the eulogy along with a short video clip showing Jim's love for Percheron horses with his horse drawn casket driven to Memphis Cemetery.
I went from a boy to a man under the watchful eye of my Uncle Jim. From the age of 11 until 18 I would be his shadow for those seven summers. No one could have been more patient with a little kid constantly trailing his every move. Like many of you, I idolized my Uncle Jim. He was a bedrock and foundation of our family. Going to visit the farm was always an exciting and highly anticipated event. Uncle Jim would always bestow attention on all of his nieces and nephews with an equal dose of good natured teasing and genuine interest for one and all. in the evening after chores he would often play baseball with us kids. At days end we hated to leave and could hardly wait to visit the farm again. To us Uncle Jim was John Wayne, Mickey Mantel, and Neil Armstrong rolled into one. His common sense, sound judgement, and reasoning were unparalleled and could have been applied across any field or profession he chose. I truly believe he could have accomplished anything he wanted to . He could have been a Governor, Senator, or President and better than any past or present. He was a natural leader. Everyone recognized this and people gravitated to him. Responsibility sought him out, and he always selflessly responded. That was him through out his life. He sacrificed and helped others at every turn. He self taught himself to be a harness maker and was known far and wide for his expert craftsmanship. But his passion was his horses... he was the horse whisperer long before Robert Redford ever was. Until his passing day, he pursued his passion and interests right to the end, rallying up energy one last time to attend the Armada Fair to watch his beloved horses. Even in the recent months as his health failed he maintained his good natured mood, with his ever present self effacing humor and gentle ribbing of all who he encountered. He had that quick wit and twinkle in his eye right to the end. He is now freed from the physical frailties of life. I'm sure he is back doing what he loved. If I know Uncle Jim, he is putting together a eight horse hitch right now, saying, "It sure feels good to heft a harness on the team." The reins are back in his capable and deft hands. The image is almost like it was yesterday as I walk in the barn as a boy and seeing Uncle Jim grab a wad of chew from his Redman tobacco pouch, quipping, with the ever present twinkle in his eye...'Well Georgie, you finally going to do some work today?' I will never forget him and owe him a debt I will never be able to pay.
May He Rest in Peace!
May He Rest in Peace!