Nelson G. Richards, MD

Class Year




Posted on: December 18, 2020

Nelson Glasgow Richards, MD, FACP, 96, of Midlothian, passed away with courage and dignity on December 13, 2020, at home.

Nelson was preceded in death by his parents, Nelson Richards and Annette Glasgow Richards. He is survived by his loving wife, Sara (Sally) to whom he was happily married for 67 years; and his six children, Janis Hennessey (John), Scott Richards (Nancy), Karen Grundmeyer (Joe), John Richards (Mary McGuire), Tom Richards (Nadia) and Nelson Richards (Jessica); and his 16 grandchildren, Jennifer (Andy), Jessie (Robert), Johnny (Bri), Jordan (Jason), Lindsay (TJ), Kristin (Hillman), Kelsey (Faizaan), Peter (Sarah), Eric (India), Kai, Nya (Connor), Pat, Sarah (James), Maggie, Ellis and Lanie; and 12 great-grandchildren, Emily, Caroline, Natalie, Ava, Fallon, Bella, London, Julianna, Brady, Rylin, Max and Bennett.

Nelson was born in Orange, New Jersey, August 15, 1924, growing up in the area before heading to Charlottesville, to attend the University of Virginia for both undergraduate and graduate schools. He earned a B.A. in Zoology in 1948 followed by a Doctorate in Medicine in 1952. He was a member of several honor societies at “The University” including Alpha Omega Alpha, Omicron Delta Kappa and The Raven Society. In addition, he served his country in the United States Navy from 1944 to 1946.

During his postdoctoral training at New York Hospital, Cornell Medical Center he completed an internship in medicine (1953), a residency also in medicine (1955), followed by a second residency in Neurology (1957). After a move to Maryland, he completed a Fellowship in Neurology at National Institutes of Health in 1958.

After his training, he moved to Shaker Heights, Ohio, where he was with the Department of Neurology at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation from 1959 to 1969. He moved back to his beloved Virginia to establish his private practice in Richmond. In addition, he was an Attending in the Department of Neurology at the Veterans Administration from 1972 until his retirement. He also had a satellite office in Kilmarnock, Va., where he was the Consulting Neurologist at Rappahannock General Hospital.

Dr. Richards served in many different capacities of several prestigious medical societies, most notably he was the first private practice clinician to be elected to the office of President of the American Academy of Neurology from 1983 to 1985.

He was an active member with the ASIM and also served as delegate with the AMA for over two decades. Dr. Richards also served as class representative for the UVA School of Medicine’s Class of 1952 for many years.

He developed a passion and talent for sailing after he built his first boat, Witchcraft in the garage at their home in Shaker Heights. For many years he sailed with his family as crew in competitions and for pleasure, sharing his knowledge and skills as he created future generations of sailors.

After he retired from medicine he made many close friends on the golf course in his Stonehenge neighborhood. He also had a constant desire for continuing education throughout his life enjoying the diverse offerings he found at the Lifelong Learning Institute.

Due to Covid-19, there are no plans at this time. When we can safely gather again we will have a celebration of his life. In lieu of flowers, we encourage donations to the University of Virginia Medical School Foundation, P.O. Box 37963, Boone, Iowa 50037.