A humble farm boy, veterinarian, husband, father, and grandfather. Calvin’s loss is felt by the many people he touched throughout his life. But like the morning rays he appreciated so much, his legacy lives on.
Calvin grew up on one of the original dairy farms in Farmington, Utah. His fourth-grade teacher instilled in him a love of reading and learning that served him his whole life. From a young age, Cal had a compassion for animals and a closeness to the spirit. His sister remembers finding Calvin kneeling down in the grain room praying for a sick cow to recover. Choosing to pursue a career as a veterinarian allowed him to combine his passion for science, animals, and service. Cal attended Davis High school where he enjoyed being part of FFA and was known by his classmates as a quiet leader and friend.
After serving an LDS mission in Paris, France, Calvin went to Utah State to obtain double degrees in Veterinary Science and Dairy Science. It was there that he met his Gospel Doctrine co-teacher Cheryl Jacobson, a ranch girl and Home Ec. student from Randolph, Utah. She soon became his sweetheart and wife. Days after they both graduated and blessed their first son, Jake, they moved to Corvallis, Oregon for vet school. Once residency was complete and he gained experience working at several clinics, his father Aaron financed the family farm to help them build Fairfield Veterinary Hospital in Layton, Utah.
As a veterinarian, he was more than a doctor but a gentle caretaker. His clients quickly became dear friends and particularly appreciated the kind way he took care and comforted their pets during the end of their lives. This service came full circle to Cal as he suffered in the final stages of mortality himself. A quote he often repeated was that “The good ones never last long enough.”
Calvin was a supportive and tender husband to his wife and love of his life, Cheryl. He was a proud father to Jake and Kori, Aubrey and Drew, Michelle and Luke, Dallin, and Austin. But his favorite role was being a Papa to his eleven grandchildren. They were his light and reason to press on. Each grandchild had a special and bond with their grandpa and each prayed for him daily. His youngest two grandchildren were announced just as he received his second liver transplant. Those babies served as treasured markers to him of the bonus time he was donated.
Cal had a quick wit and an always positive perspective. During his years of sickness, when asked how he was doing, his consistent answer was “Doing great, and getting better!” As the man who never quit, he insisted on being dropped off on his way home from the hospital for Friday afternoon basketball, volunteering to babysit between doctors appointments, and washing the Sunday dishes even when he just didn’t feel good.
Service wasn’t something Cal did, it was who he was. He followed the example of his parents in getting to sincerely know people and connect with them on their level. His service as Bishop of the Crestwood Ward was an opportunity he enjoyed as he got to know his neighbors and youth. Calvin had a gift for teaching the gospel both in front of a group and in how he lived his life. When he bore his testimony of Jesus Christ his deep conviction resonated with those who listened. We find comfort knowing he has now returned to live with Him.
Calvin was a scholar and was constantly learning. He loved science and history and had an incredible knack for picking out a good novel in a bookstore. He was intrigued by the life of Abraham Lincoln and those who served in World War II. Any spare minute he had allowed him to turn a few pages and immerse himself in another world.
Always climbing to be better, Calvin was a pillar of strength to many. He is affectionately known by his family as a “Mountain of a Man”. Hiking his beloved Adam’s Canyon and trails around the world provided solace and relief for him. Some of his favorite experiences were leading scouts, family and friends on adventures to appreciate God’s creations. Dad always taught us to look up, making it easy for us to know where to find him.
After 15 years with liver disease and two liver transplants, his body reluctantly gave up the fight, allowing him to be reunited with his father Aaron Richards, mother Jetta Richards, and younger sister Gloria Ann.
As a family, we celebrate his life. In his memory, we hope you will get outdoors, immerse yourself in a good book and share a warm hug and conversation with those you love.
An opportunity to visit the family will be Wednesday, September 20th from 6-8 pm at the Lindquist Mortuary at 400 S Main St, Kaysville. The funeral will be Thursday, September 21st at 11:00 am with an opportunity to visit the family from 9:30-10:30 am at the Crestwood Chapel, 1059 E Crestwood Rd, Kaysville. Calvin will be laid to rest in the Farmington, Utah cemetery.
Special thanks are given to the Liver Transplant Team at the University of Utah Hospital for their excellent care and his two donors’ families for the gift of life. We encourage you to become an organ donor yourself at yesutah.org or your state’s registry.