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April 4, 1933 — June 21, 2023

Iris Jean Richards, affectionately known as “Mama Jean”, 90, of Petersburg, Virginia passed away on Wednesday, June 21, 2023. Her departure leaves behind cherished memories and a legacy of love that will forever echo in the hearts of those who were fortunate enough to know her.

Iris was born on April 4, 1933 in Troutville, Virginia, the daughter of the late Orion Lucian and Cammie Pauline Wiley. As a young woman, Iris Jean found her passion in the legal field and served as a Legal Secretary in the esteemed offices of Linwood Holten, who would later become the Governor of Virginia. Her dedication and commitment to her work earned her the respect and admiration of her colleagues.

However, Iris made the selfless decision to prioritize her family and set aside her flourishing career. She embarked on a remarkable journey with her military husband, traveling extensively to various corners of the world, all while joyfully raising their four children.  She embraced every opportunity to instill a sense of adventure and curiosity in her children’s lives.

After her husband’s retirement from the military, Iris’ nurturing spirit naturally led her to become a caregiver for numerous children, extending her maternal love beyond her own family. It was during this time that she acquired the beloved nickname “Mama Jean”. Children under her care were embraced with open arms, finding solace, comfort, and unwavering love in her presence. Mama Jean’s compassionate heart touched the lives of many, leaving an indelible mark on each soul she encountered.

Iris was an extraordinary woman who embodied grace, resilience, and boundless kindness. She had a rare ability to make everyone feel valued and loved, leaving an imprint of warmth and acceptance wherever she went. Her unwavering devotion to her family, coupled with her nurturing nature, will forever remain etched in the memories of those who had the privilege of calling her mother, grandmother, sister, aunt or friend.

Iris Jean Richards leaves behind a profound void in the lives of her loved ones. She is survived by her four daughters, Debbie Kerrick, Carol Richards, Cindy Mizelle (Mark), Sheri Booth (David); grandchildren, Jessica Holt (Dave) Christin Mizelle, Brandi Booth, Dave Booth (Lori), Haley Mizelle, Ella Callahan, Ryan Booth (Melissa), Ian Mizelle, Nicholas Booth (Angel); sister, Patsy Pollard (Ron); special family members, Wayne and Sabrina Crocker, Shannon and Ron Sanderlin (Marcus and Myles), Courtney and Breon Tucker (Aubrey); her beloved four-legged companion, Ginger; and several extended family members. She joins her husband Russell Richards, who preceded her in death, in eternal rest, along with her parents; brothers, Troy and O.L. Wiley; and son-in-law, Stuart Kerrick.

Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Crater Community Hospice, 3916 S. Crater Road, Petersburg, Virginia 23805. Funeral arrangements are being handled by the Crater Road Chapel of E. Alvin Small Funeral Homes and Crematory, 3935 S. Crater Road, Petersburg, Virginia 23805. Online condolences may be registered at