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Dr John Richardson

Dr John Richardson

Dr John Richardson, retired Senior Lecturer in the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, died on 6 June 2010.

An outstandingly gifted teacher and highly capable organiser, John Richardson, known affectionately to colleagues and students alike as JR, served the Department with dedication and distinction for well over forty years. Entering the University as an undergraduate in 1949 to read Electrical Engineering, he graduated in 1952 and proceeded to complete a PhD, which he was awarded in 1957. John spent several years in Canada around this time, initially as an Instructor at the University of Toronto and later as a project engineer engaged in microwave engineering at Sinclair Radio Laboratories, also in Toronto.

John Richardson returned to Leeds in 1961 on his appointment to a Lectureship. He was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1969. Throughout his academic career, John received countless plaudits for his teaching, being described more than once as the best lecturer in the Department. His love for his subject, his meticulous preparation, his powers of exposition, his gentle personality and his constant readiness to lend support and advice combined to make him exceptional in the eyes of his students, who benefited greatly from his uncompromising insistence on the highest of standards. To John, the unremitting pursuit of academic excellence was as natural as breathing.

Although departmental commitments at times crowded out his personal research, John Richardson nevertheless produced a series of publications and supervised a steady stream of research students, to whom he was an exemplary mentor. His early research involved work on antennas but he later spent more than twenty years studying high frequency semiconductor devices. John also flawlessly organised and contributed extensively to the Departments highly-regarded short courses on Microwaves which over the years attracted hundreds of electronics engineers.

By dint of his readiness to take on a wide range of the administrative functions of a large and technically complex department, John proved a tower of strength to successive heads of department. His responsibilities included the administration of the electronics research area, looking after undergraduate administration and postgraduate admissions, and, in later years, serving as Deputy Head of Department and as a member of the Management Board. True to his quest for the highest standards of scholarship, John took responsibility for library matters within the Department for many years, working tirelessly to ensure that students had access to the widest, most up-to-date range of materials available. He also served as a member of the Library Executive Committee.

John Richardson reached retirement age in 1995 but, such was the esteem in which his teaching prowess was held, that he went on to hold an unbroken series of part-time appointments as Senior Fellow until the end of session 2003-04. Throughout this period, his enthusiasm for teaching and his commitment to his students remained undimmed, and his expertise continued to be deployed on both undergraduate and MSc programmes. To his colleagues, he remained a valued, trusted and admired friend, being described by one of them as part of the very bricks and mortar of the Department.

Outside the University, John had a broad range of interests, notably in the arts (especially opera), and was himself a talented pianist and organist.

Johns wife, Olwyn, died some years ago. He is survived by their two daughters, Judith and Claire.

Published: 1 July 2010