Bonita (Bunny) Richardson

Bonita (Bunny) Smith Richardson, 63, formerly of W. Columbia, passed away Wednesday, December 31, 2014 at her home in the Upstate. After a long struggle with cancer, she succumbed on New Year’s Eve.

Born April 21, 1951 in Columbia, Bunny was raised in the Barnwell County town of Williston. She was a daughter of the late George H. and Betty Hair Smith.

Bunny was a writer from childhood. She wrote a private Civil War-era novel early in her life but did not seek to publish it. Her interest in writing took her to the Williston-Elko High School newspaper and then to the University of South Carolina where she earned a degree in journalism in 1973. That year, she began what would become a 22-year career at The Columbia Record, an afternoon daily that closed in 1987, and The State Newspaper. Bunny’s career included her becoming one of the first women news editors at The Record and later at The State, where she was co-assistant managing editor.

Bunny schooled scores of reporters and editors, winning their trust and love for her firm, fair and yet gentle way of managing the often stressful business of gathering and reporting the news. Newsmakers respected her professionalism.

She left the newspaper business in 1995 to become a spokeswoman for car making giant BMW in Spartanburg County. Bunny’s work at BMW involved representing the company with the media but also included being one of its ambassadors to business and civic communities in the Upstate.

Bunny’s mother, who retired from the Barnwell County Department of Social Services, passed away in January, 2012 at the age of 84. Her father, a retired U.S. Army reservist and retired Savannah River Plant safety engineer, died in March 2014 at the age of 85.

Bunny is survived by her husband of 38 years, Randy Richardson; sister Brownie (Bill} Hart of Blythewood and their sons, Adam (Joanna) of Columbia and Luke (Jenna) of Lexington as well as her 3 month old great niece, Sophie Ann of Lexington.

Services will be private. Visitation will be Saturday, January 3, 2015 from 11:30 am – 1:OO pm at Heritage Funeral Home in Simpsonville.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to The Cancer Center of the Carolinas (Greenville) or to the USC School of Journalism.

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