A celebration of Warren Richards' 32-year firefighting career in the Woodside Fire Protection District was held Saturday, Jan. 7, at the main fire station at 3111 Woodside Road in Woodside.
Mr. Richards retired in 1999 and died Sunday, Jan. 1, at home in Redwood City. He was 65.
"He was like a bona fide hero," Mr. Richards' son Tim, also a firefighter for the Woodside district, said in a telephone interview from his father's home in Redwood City.
"All my friends really looked up to him," he said.
When he was off duty, Warren Richards kept with him a police-band scanner so he could go to fires and help out with logistics, his son said.
Woodside Fire Chief Dan Ghiorso described Warren Richards as "happy go lucky" and someone who rarely missed a day of work.
"He was a great storyteller," his son Tim said. "He could tell a story to the point to where you kind of wanted to hear more because it was so funny (or) so bizarre."
Some firefighters go into management. Mr. Richards had a management role as the District 9 vice president for the firefighter's union. As a negotiator, he was "very straightforward," his son said. "He was pretty well liked by both sides."
When he wasn't on duty, Mr. Richards had many interests, his son said, including coins, clocks, model trains and the daunting Japanese art form of bonsai, the husbandry of miniature but full grown trees in table-top pots.
"He would bonsai anything that would allow him to," Tim said. His dad's collection included a maple, cedars, redwoods and Japanese varieties, he said.
In addition to his son, Warren Richards is survived by his wife Wendy of Redwood City; son Matthew of Redwood City; and mother Betty Brieger of Grants Pass, Oregon.