“The Most Rewarding Time of Our Lives,” Ensign, Feb. 1996, 10
Three years ago, Joseph Richey was dying. He had just been admitted to a Fresno, California, hospital where he was diagnosed with leukemia. “Eighty-five percent of people with this condition die within a very short time,” his doctor said.
“I’m in the top 15 percent,” Brother Richey responded. “Tell me what happens to them.”
The doctor replied, “Some live for three, even five years, and some longer.”
“That’s what I’ll do,” Brother Richey replied.
After surviving the forty “hardest days of my life,” which included chemotherapy and several infections, Brother Richey recovered. A year later, he and his wife, Sharon, accepted a call to the England Birmingham Mission. The Richeys served as leadership and proselyting missionaries and spent much of their time working in the Peterborough Ward. They had an investigator accept baptism and played a key role in establishing the March Branch. Elder and Sister Richey often said, “We are experiencing the happiest and the most rewarding time of our lives.”
When Elder Richey became seriously ill, the Richeys headed back to Fresno for treatment. Three months later, after he recovered from another life-threatening illness, Elder and Sister Richey again returned to the mission field, but not before they had committed a Fresno family to baptism. Within two weeks of returning to England, they had taught the gospel to a mother and daughter and witnessed their baptism.
Elder Richey had been seriously weakened by his illness, however. Ultimately, the leukemia returned, but Elder Richey kept working as a missionary until he returned home to Fresno, where he passed away surrounded by his loved ones.