Sidney Victor Richards born on July 31st, 1929 to Rev. Tensil & Mrs. Hilda Richards in Harlem New York. He was the last of 4 children; his siblings were Eric, Lucile, & Arthur. In his early teens the family moved the Bronx, where he spent most of his life until he moved to Maryland in 2014. Sidney (Sid) was an avid musician, a member of Local 802, the American Federation of Musicians for more than 70 years. He begun formal study of the saxophone in middle school continuing through high school and into college at the New York School of Music, where he included the clarinet and flute. Sid began to play professionally after high school but joined the Army where he served from 1951 until 1952. While in the Army he was honored to play in various Army Bands both in Germany and in France before his Honorable Discharge. He came home to marry Iris Beckford, and in 1959 his precious daughter Rhonda Victoria was born.
Sid worked for the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation where he worked his way up from laborer to Principle Foreman to Bronx County Community Liaison, when he retired in 1992. In 1988 he met Cheryl Abramson, a manager with the NYC Department of Environmental Protection when they worked together in community councils. They married in November that year and she bought into the marriage, 3 children, Robie, Alfred, & Jared, with whom he immediately bonded.
Throughout his life Sidney played his saxophone in marching bands, for concerts- classical & jazz, and in orchestras, including his own… The Sid Richards Orchestra and SMKS that played many different venues including large and small clubs and Events. He was also Musical Director for the Westchester County (NY) Business Women’s Annual Cotillion for many years.
Sid had the ability to put people together whether it was bringing people into musical groups that he participated with …most recently the Ray Abrams Band & the Bethune Big Band in New York as well as to the Mandela Center Inc. New York. At the Mandela Center he played for many various functions and cultural events. He was a member of the Friendly Fifties, a scholarship organization of New York City musicians and he was always supportive of young people and their endeavors, encouraging them to do and to be their best. He and Cheryl loved to travel through the Caribean, Cuba, Brazil and several countries in Africa including Ghana, where he helped support a school. He really enjoyed cruises, later in his life, and with family and friends, especially when music was the theme.
Sidney leaves to mourn him a very loving and blended family, His wife Cheryl Richards, daughter Rhonda Richards Parham (Donnell), stepchildren Robie Akarolo Robinson (David), Brig. Gen. Alfred Abramson III (Pam), Jared Abramson (Marva). 8 grandchildren Shamel (Jonai), Ashley, Aliya, Zuri, Alfred IV, Alexis, Alexandra and Jasmine; 2 wonderful great grands Skylar and Jonathan. He also leaves his beloved niece & nephew Kathleen Thomas & Eric Richards Jr., his sister-in-law Susan McPhee, cousin DelRosa Marshall, many honorary GOD-children and a host of other longstanding friends and relatives.
‘Papa Sid’, ‘Uncle Sidney’, ‘Uncle Sid’, was one of a kind, Elegant and Straightforward. He will be remembered and truly missed by everyone who knew him.