David A. Richardson (1944-2020)



Jon Holman reports that Dave died on Saturday, January 11, 2020.  He had been diagnosed with advanced lymphoma in March 2017, and after an incredibly grueling chemo regimen (go to the hospital on Monday, have essentially full time chemo for 3-4 days, go home to rest and start again the following Monday, for months), he was declared cancer-free.  But his immune system and body were very compromised. In 2019 he had an up and down year with a variety of complications, and although he remained cancer-free and thus didn't exactly die of cancer, cancer certainly caused his death.  When Jon last saw him in October he was kind of frail but seemed to be on the mend, but things changed pretty quickly.


Dave came to Princeton as a National Merit Scholarship winner from La Jolla High School in California.


Many of you know his name because of Richardson Auditorium.  After a major capital gift by Dave to the University in the name of his father, David B. Richardson '33, Alexander Hall was closed in 1984-85 so that Richardson Auditorium could be constructed. This is excerpted from the June 1, 1983 PAW:


"A major capital gift from David A. Richardson '66 of Lake Tahoe and Los Angeles will enable the University to rebuild the interior of Alexander Hall, turning it into a first-class concert facility.  The new auditorium will be named in memory of his father, David B. Richardson '33, a lifelong classical music enthusiast and a successful lawyer and investor.  The son is also a serious audiophile who has produced several high quality collectors' jazz albums featuring such prominent artists as Maynard Ferguson, Freddie Hubbard, and Louie Bellson.  The remodeling work calls for acoustic modification of the hall, including installation of special panels and drapes to reflect or dampen sound in strategic areas.  The stage will be rebuilt, and rest rooms and dressing rooms will be constructed in the basement."


A Brief History of Richardson Auditorium In Alexander Hall has high praise:

"In 1984-85, Alexander Hall was extensively renovated and renamed as a result of a major gift to a Campaign for Princeton from David A. Richardson ’66 in memory of his father, David B. Richardson ’33.  The elder Richardson, a lifelong enthusiast of classical music and a successful lawyer and investor, died in 1980. This project revitalized the building for use as an 891-seat concert hall. Buddy Graham, winner of six Grammys and one of the most highly regarded engineers for symphonic recording in the late twentieth century, listed Richardson Auditorium in the company of Carnegie Hall and the Concertgebouw in Holland as one of the world’s acoustically 'great' concert halls."


Click here for David's PAW memorial.


Memories of Dave


If you have additional photos or memories to share, please send them to the webmaster (jmhart62@gmail.com) for addition to this page.

Jon Holman

As the Prince article announcing the Richardson Auditorium gift suggests, Dave was an incredible music lover.  At Princeton, he and George Miner would spend hours listening to serious jazz of the Coltrane/Monk variety, and he never was asked a jazz question he couldn't answer.  He was devoted to Ella Fitzgerald.  He also was involved in making one of the very first digital music recordings in the world.  And his involvement with Richardson Auditorium wasn't just as a guy who wrote a check; he visited many times during the process, helped the designer and sound experts, and was integrally involved in all the major decisions.  His knowledge of music was such that he had a great deal to add.

Dave received a J.D. from Pepperdine and also earned a master's degree in urban planning from UCLA. He was very active in a whole variety of things.  But you never would know that Dave had means; he was just a regular guy, not a spender, loved playing the curmudgeon.  The only slight indication of money was that for junior and senior year, his parents shipped a color TV to the four roommates all the way from California.  He also was a licensed pilot.


Dave also had a great sense of humor.  This was helped by what seemed to be a rubbery indestructible body.  He relished deliberately falling down stairs in the dorm, to the horror of those around him, and jumping up unharmed.  During junior year, when Fred Hartmann came over with his wife Sally, Dave made a grand entrance carrying a surprise (from Fred) birthday cake in a box for Sally, and Dave did a deliberate pratfall, crushing the box.  We all thought Fred was going to have a heart attack.  The box, of course, had been emptied.


Dave's roommates in the early years were George MinerOwen MathieuTed WalworthCharley Wertheimer, and Chuck Lagreco.  In junior year, he roomed with George Miner, Bob Warwick, and Jon Holman.  The same four were in senior year room draw, but I got married, so the other three had a luxurious four-man suite in 314 Walker.  We self-anointed ourselves as P.L.O.P., Professional Liberals of Princeton, based on our backgrounds: African-American from D.C., WASP from La Jolla, WASP from Florida, Jew from Puerto Rico.

While at Princeton, Dave was one of the managers of the football team, a member of the Yacht Club and Outing Club (the latter because it permitted him to drive his car), and he ate at Terrace.  After Princeton, he was on the Alumni Schools Committee, a Leadership Giving Volunteer, and on the Music Advisory Council.  His generosity extended to the Orchestra and to speakers about music.

In 1984, Dave married Carol Carfagno, sister of Ed Carfagno '63.  They had no children, and Dave would have had you believe that he hated children; one of his favorite lines, ever the curmudgeon, was when asked how he liked children, he would answer what W.C. Fields answered to the same question: "boiled."  But when Ed's wife Debbie died very young, with their daughters Piera and Sydney just five and ten years old, Dave and Carol became deeply involved in the girls' lives to help Ed.  Dave drove carpool, went to all their volleyball games, even went to their college games in Boston (Brandeis and Wellesley) in later years.  He was devoted to them.  In every sense, Piera and Sydney are Dave's surviving family in addition to Carol.

There has been no formal funeral or obituary as yet.  A memorial event will be held at a later date. Information will be added to the top of this page. If you wish to be notified, contact John Hart (jmhart62@gmail.com).


The pictures at the top are from the Freshman and Nassau Heralds.  President Bill Bowen and Dave are shown below in May 1985 in the Prince during the dedication of Richardson Auditorium. Below that is Dave's picture at the time, also from the Prince.



On the left, George Miner (deceased), Jon Holman, Dave Richardson, and Bob Warwick at Dave's 40th birthday in Los Angeles (1984). On the right are Holman, Warwick, and Richardson at 40th (2006).



October 2019 Santa Monica, Dave Richardson and Jon Holman.