M3 PT - June 2019

WEST HILLS 7230 MEDICAL CENTER DRIVE, SUITE 401 WEST HILLS, CA 91307 WEST LOS ANGELES 10474 SANTA MONICA BLVD., SUITE 435 LOS ANGELES, CA 90025

WWW.M3PT.COM / LA · 310.275.4137 / WEST HILLS · 747.888.3562 / JUNE 2019

M3 AND ME

Earlier this year, we lost a very dear part of our family. My father-in- law, Josephus Olufemi Richards, Ph.D., was many things to many people. To his students, he was a beloved mentor. To collectors and museum curators, he was an incredible artist. To his family and many, many friends, he was “Femi.” Born and raised in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Josephus’ passion for learning took him to Northwestern University in 1967. There, he earned his Ph.D. in art and architectural history. Soon after graduating, he was hired as a professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts, where he remained a beloved teacher for 37 years. Even in retirement, he kept himself busy, making textiles to sell at local art fairs. His prints have ended up in museums and homes all over the world. But as incredible as Josephus’ achievements are, they don’t come close to capturing the man he was. Above being intelligent and wise, he was kind. A JOYOUS LIFE CELEBRATING JOSEPHUS OLUFEMI RICHARDS

I’m not the only one who noticed Josephus’ way of lifting people up. Within minutes of meeting him, my sister told me how he made her feel like one of the greatest people who ever lived. It wasn’t that he showered people with false compliments, either; he really had a gift for seeing the best in people. In his eyes, everyone was No. 1.

That, I think, is the most important lesson Josephus taught to those who knew him: He found beauty and joy in the smallest things. Thinking of him was, and is, a

constant reminder to find happiness in quiet moments, in the people we love, and in the world we share. I know his compassion made an impact on many people. So many

heartfelt letters from former students and colleges came in after he passed. Sharing his memory with you is my own way of doing this, I suppose.

My family will be traveling to New York later this summer to celebrate Josephus’ incredible life. Even extended members of the family are flying all the way from Freetown to honor his memory. While losing him still hurts, we’ll make sharing stories of our Femi a joyous occasion, just as he wanted it to be. I’ll close by sharing Josephus’ greatest achievement of all: his sons. Doyin and his brothers embody the compassion and good humor of their father. Each has become an amazing dad in his own right, and how could they not? They really did learn from the best.

“THAT, I THINK, IS THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON JOSEPHUS TAUGHT TO THOSE WHO KNEW HIM: HE FOUND BEAUTY AND JOY IN THE SMALLEST THINGS.”

I remember the first time I met him. My future husband Doyin and I flew out to Amherst so he could introduce me to his parents. Josephus met us at the airport, and he was so warm and welcoming that I immediately felt like part of the family. He had this caring curiosity he’d use to build you up even as he was getting to know you. By the time the drive was finished, I was over the moon with confidence. Even years later, he’d text me compliments like how I was “the best mom on earth.”

Happy Fathers’ Day,

–Mariko Edwards

LA · 310.275.4137 / WEST HILLS · 747.888.3562 | 1

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