Hard-working Hopkins couple leaves lasting legacy

By Jacki Wood for the Nodaway News Leader

The name Rickard has become synonymous with giving and grant funding in Nodaway County over the last decade.

But the story of Floyd and Gladys Rickard began outside of Nodaway County in the late 1890s.

Early years

Floyd L. “Skeet” Rickard was born October 23, 1896, in Craig, the son of Robert and Hattie Rickard.

Gladys Marie Heflin was born September 1, 1898, in Clarinda, IA, the daughter of Charles J. and Hanna Rogers Heflin.

Skeet moved to Hopkins at some point in his young life. In 1913, he was a member of the Hopkins High School basketball team.

Skeet Rickard, front left

Skeet Rickard, front left

He went on to pharmacy school, graduating with honors, and passed the Missouri Board of Pharmacy on June 12, 1916.

Later that year, he began working at The Owl drugstore in Hopkins.

Skeet enlisted in the US Navy on May 18, 1918, and was a pharmacist’s mate during World War I. He was released on August 29, 1919, and returned to Hopkins and to The Owl.

He was the Hopkins White Sox baseball team manager and played shortstop in 1922 and then played second base for the Hopkins Towners in 1924.

In 1923, he and Oliver Lewis, then co-owners of The Owl, purchased a building where Lewis opened Herbert-Gray Drug while Skeet stayed at The Owl.

Then in 1929, Skeet purchased Herbert Drug and moved the stock to a new location on the north side of Barnard Street where he opened Rickard Rexall Drug. He installed the “latest” in fountain equipment and several years later added an ice cream making machine.

Skeet and Gladys

On May 23, 1930, Skeet and Gladys were married in King City.

Gladys had worked as the city clerk in Clarinda before they were married. She then joined her husband at the drugstore.

Anna Cross, former owner of the Hopkins Journal, and her daughter, Sharon Bonnett, remembered the Rickards as being conservative, hard-working people who were “always” at the drugstore. Skeet was more outgoing and personable than was Gladys.

“I think Skeet was well liked in Hopkins. He became involved in a lot of the town’s endeavors,” Cross said. “And I think of Gladys as a serious-minded, all-business woman.”

The drugstore

The drugstore was a gathering place, Bonnett said, and the old-fashioned soda fountain was an attraction.

“The drugstore was at the bottom of schoolhouse hill,” Bonnett said. “The kids who lived in town would go to the drugstore for ice cream or a soda drink or candy every night before they headed home, if they could afford it.”

The Rickards did not have any children, Cross said, but always had a dog that they considered family. And the dog was always with them in the drugstore, Bonnett added.

Gladys Rickard and her dog

Gladys Rickard and her dog

“What I remember most about Gladys is her love of dogs,” Bonnett said. “I don’t remember her looking forward to children visiting their store, but I would go to the back where the pharmacy was because that’s where the dog was. She kind of liked me because I liked her dog.”

Community service

The Rickards owned a two-story home on schoolhouse hill and were both involved in the community during their time in Hopkins.

They attended the Christian Church in Hopkins.

Skeet was elected mayor in 1934.

He was a charter member of the newly formed Glen Ulmer Post No. 288 on October 9, 1939, and Gladys was a charter member of the American Legion Auxiliary.

Skeet was also a 50-year member of the Xenia Masonic Lodge and Gladys was a member of the Eastern Star, Art Club, Hilltop Club, Hopkins Historical Society, CWF and the Hopkins Organ Club. She also played bridge.

“I don’t know how active she was in any of those organizations but she was a member,” Cross said. “Skeet was much more active.”

Later on

In 1948, Skeet purchased the Shamrock Inn north of Hopkins and sold it seven months later to Roy and Rose Burri who opened State Line Oil and Cafe.

Then after 25 years of operating Rickard Rexall Drug, they sold the drugstore to Mr. and Mrs. Clell Corum on March 1, 1953.

Skeet then served as president of the Hopkins State Bank when it opened on March 5, 1955, and Gladys also worked there as a teller.

After they retired, the Rickards moved to Arizona. Skeet died at the age of 86 on October 31, 1982, in Phoenix.

Following his death, Gladys returned to Hopkins and then moved to Maryville. She died September 7, 2002, at the age of 104.

Skeet and Gladys Rickard

Skeet and Gladys Rickard

The trust

Hopkins native Ed Mutti, who serves as a trustee for The Gladys M. Rickard Charitable Trust, said his mother and Gladys were good friends. After Skeet’s death, he prepared her taxes for her.

“She was always very good to me,” he said. “They were really hard working. And they spent hours in that drugstore.”

With no children to benefit from their hard work, conservatism and saving, Gladys set up a trust to assist Nodaway County residents.

“It’s touched a lot of organizations and a lot of people,” Cross said.

To date, the trust has awarded over $2 million in grant funding to organizations located in Nodaway County or which directly benefit the county.

“Their conservatism has enabled a lot of things,” Bonnett said. “Their trust has made a big difference for a lot of Nodaway County.”

Special thanks to the Hopkins Historical Society, the Nodaway County Historical Society, Anna Cross, Sharon Bonnett, Ed Mutti, Garland O’Riley and Amy Anderson.

 

Side Story: Nodaway County organizations receive over $2 million from trust

By Jacki Wood for the Nodaway News Leader

Over the last 10 years, The Gladys M. Rickard Charitable Trust has assisted numerous Nodaway County organizations with over $2 million in grant funding.

“Nodaway County has benefited immensely in having this resource for bettering the communities and the lives of our residents,” Jessica J. Loch, Rickard board member, said. “Since December 2004, $2,449,616 has been given out.”

Floyd L. “Skeet” and Gladys M. Rickard lived in Hopkins for many years, were involved in the community and owned the Rickard Rexall Drug in town from 1929 to 1953.

Following the death of Gladys in 2002, the trust was funded on May 15, 2004, with the first awards given out in December of that year.

“The purpose of the trust is to award grant monies to 501©(3) organizations that are located in Nodaway County or directly benefit Nodaway County,” John W. Baker Jr. said, who along with Loch and Edward Mutti Jr., also serves on the board of trustees.

Some of the organizations that have received funding from the trust include the Hopkins Community Club, the Children and Family Center, New Nodaway Humane Society, Habitat for Humanity, Hopkins Historical Society, Nodaway County Historical Society, The Ministry Center, Mozingo Lake and Maryville Park and Rec, Camp Quality, North Nodaway, Eugene Field Elementary, Maryville Middle School, Community Services, Clearmont Community Club, Lifeline, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Nodaway County Senior Center, St. Francis Hospital and Foundation, SSM Hospice Foundation, Toys for Tots, United Way, Nodaway Community Theater Company, NOCOMO, Nodaway Chorale, JFK Recreation Center, Children’s Mercy Hospital and Maryville Public Library.

“The citizens of Nodaway County are very proud of their farms, homes and towns,” Loch said. “I’m always impressed that when something needs doing, such as the community center buildings or parks or safety and health needs, the residents rally and get it done.

“Getting assistance with the Rickard funds makes it easier to see that a goal can be met and maybe is a shot in the arm to accomplishing it.”

Loch said the trustees look at certain factors in determining who receives grant funding, including: is the use of money for non-consumable items that will be used for a period of time; is it an established program that has proven it is sustainable; how large is the population that will be served and what is the diversity of the population; is it an organizations that does good work but might not have other sources of funding.

The trust also sometimes requires matching funds from the recipients, Loch said.

“The imagination and care shown in resolving needs and issues in the county is endless,” she said. “One cannot describe the joy there is in being ‘Santa Claus.’ The thank you letters of appreciation we receive are heartfelt in describing how many families are aided by Community Services for rent assistance, Toys for Tots, hospice care, elderly housing and Lifeline. I am very fortunate to serve on this trust.”

The trustees usually meet in June and November to evaluate requests and make a decision on grant awards. Funds must be distributed by the end of the year to satisfy IRS requirements.

Baker said the amount that the trust is worth depends on the stock market. As of December 31, 2013, the value was $5.5 million.

“By IRS guidelines, we must set aside an amount equal to at least five percent of the twelve-month average fair market value of the trust assets,” he said, which determines how much is awarded each year.

Applications for grant funding can be obtained from Diane Thomsen, Strong and Strong Law Office, 124 East Third, Maryville, and must be submitted by May 1 and November 1 each year.

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