(1955 – 2013)
Olenda Jones (O.J.) Richardson represented the hard work and untiring responsibilities of Extension Administrative Assistants. She began her career in 1973 as a typist in the animal science department. She advanced to a secretary and then to staff secretary for Bob Whittenburg, Youth Animal Science Specialist.
That is where most of the 4-H staff learned that she could help them get through all the paperwork for cattle, sheep, and horse entries.
She then became secretary for Dr. Tony Dozer and Dr. Greg Hutchins, State 4-H Leaders. Ms. Richardson advanced to Executive Secretary for The Regional Extension Office and became the Office Administrative Secretary and was promoted to Administrative Support Associate.
“The seventeen years O.J. worked in my office,” states Dr. Paul Waddy, “she was always on time and ready for the task ahead. She kept track of the agent’s time and travel. No one could get away with anything. However, she was very supportive and helpful to the field staff.”
“O.J. was very proud of her two daughters and their academic accomplishments,” says Dr. Ray Rice. “She looked forward to them graduating from college. I always got the feeling she was like a mother bear — you had better not mess with her daughters or you would have her to deal with.”
Ms. Richardson was very competent in managing the duties of the Extension District II office. The secretaries in the county offices could always call on her for their support and help. Her work was important and she took it seriously. She loved to have fun, joking and kidding around the office, but the reports were always accurate.
O.J. Richardson retired from the Alabama Cooperative Extension System with almost 36 years of service on September 30, 2010. The celebration of her retirement found that many staff that knew her, telling stories of how Ms. Richardson came to their rescue when they need a report completed or couldn’t find that one travel document.
A lady who always knew your name and had a smile on her face, Olenda J. (O.J.) Richardson served Extension staff for more than 36 years. Epsilon Sigma Phi salutes her by placing her name on the dedicatory plaque of the Extension Memorial Chapel.
Chapel Plaque Inscription Number: 587