Zedith Marie Lachney (Zeda) was born in Beckley, Raleigh County, West Virginia on 17 Mar 1932 to Joseph Lachney and Mary Jane Hilton. Zeda married William (Bill) Hunter Richmond Jr on 2 Sep 1948 at her family home in Besoco, Raleigh County, WV.1
Through her married life Zeda moved a few times trying to find the right place to raise her family. In the late 1950’s the family finally settled in the City of Chicago. Quite a big difference from small, coal town life.
Zeda was a definite character, with a kind heart. She would call those she loved by pet names and they were usually not something you would hear in any other family. A favorite of mine is a$$hole, that was meant with total respect and love. A pet name that was used upon her children quickly moved to her grandchildren and finally her great grandchildren. Sh*tpot was a name reserved for a special person in the family. My youngest carried that name and she would refer to her granny as ‘the granny that calls me bad names.’ What I would give to hear her call me any of those names today.
Zeda was more than my grandmother, she was my best friend. She was the one I called to confide in, to seek guidance from and to learn more about my family roots. When I found the next great thing, I would always call her to ask more questions after jarring her memory of life in west Virginia.
In 2005, Zeda took her final road trip home to WV. She did this for a Hilton family reunion and invited me and my kids to go with (okay and drive her there). It was probably the best week I had spent with her. Not only did she share the places she grew up, went to school, got married and had her kids but she shared many family stories that my eldest video taped with her knowledge (they thought she was just playing with the camera). One day I will get them moved onto a DVD so that we can watch them more often.
In 1999, after the death of her husband Bill, Zeda moved to Trinity, Alabama to get away from the long, cold winters of Chicago and spend time with her family there.
The one thing she shared with me on this trip was that no matter how long she had been gone, she truly missed her home in West Virginia. When we crossed the state line, she sat in the car sobbing and when we went home and crossed the state line again, she did the same thing. She had been gone almost fifty years and home still hold a special place in her heart.
In 2009 Zeda was diagnosed with lung cancer (something her grandchildren had warned her of forever, she always replied she had to ‘go’ someway). We were able to visit with her the last few days of her life. When we arrived in Alabama, she was in the hospital and talk was already underway for her to go home and hospice to take over. At this point, Zeda was already having conversations with her husband who had passed ten years prior, and her mother who had passed about twenty years prior.
Once a hospital bed had been set up, she was home to spend her last few days surrounded by family. Unbeknownst to her and the family is how short that time would be. Literally two days later, on 31 Dec 2009 Zeda passed peacefully, surrounded by her loved ones.2 One of the last things she said to me was that if she knew how painful lung cancer was going to be, she would have quit smoking many years before.