The City of Santa Ana is mourning the loss of former City Councilmember Rob Richardson, who was a fixture in the community as a public servant, local historian and advocate.
Mr. Richardson served on the Santa Ana City Council from 1990 until 1998 and later was a member of the City’s Planning Commission and Historic Resources Commission. He also was a Santa Ana Unified School District Trustee from 1987 to 1990 and 2003 to 2016.
“During the over three decades that I knew Rob, he continually demonstrated his dedication to and love of Santa Ana through his public service and advocacy,” Mayor Miguel A. Pulido said. “He fought for whatever he believed in and he fought hard. He will be sorely missed.”
Raised in Santa Ana, Mr. Richardson received his bachelor’s degree from UCLA. He is survived by his wife, Bella, and her three children.
Before being elected to the City Council, Mr. Richardson worked for the City of Santa Ana as an Economic Development Specialist and Manager. He then worked for the County of Orange for over 20 years, including as Assistant County Executive Officer and most recently as County Procurement Officer until his passing.
Mr. Richardson was involved in numerous local organizations, including Kiwanis Club of Santa Ana, Boys & Girls Club of Santa Ana and Salvation Army Orange County Advisory Council.
He was also known as an expert on Santa Ana history and an avid train aficionado. Mr. Richardson was a 20-year member of the Santa Fe Railway Historical and Modeling Society, and a courtyard at the Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center is named in his honor.
“Rob not only chronicled much of Santa Ana’s past, but was an important part of its history,” Ward 1 Councilmember Vicente Sarmiento said. “He served the public with integrity first as a City Councilmember, and then as a Trustee for the School District. He will be missed for his leadership and his gentle way.”
Ward 2 Councilmember David Penaloza stated:
“I am saddened and torn over the loss of Mr. Richardson. His leadership, wisdom, and love for our city will be greatly missed. May the lord give his family, friends, colleagues, and all who knew him great comfort and peace.”
“Rob loved Santa Ana and always worked to make it better. As one of his City Commissioners I learned a lot about government and politics from him,” Ward 3 Councilmember Jose Solorio said. “He was a voice of reason and strong policymaker both on the City Council and School District and was very effective, and boy did he love trains! I made Norms my unofficial meeting office like Rob and will miss having another cup of coffee with him.”
Ward 4 Councilmember Phil Bacerra stated:
“Our city lost one of the good guys with the passing of Rob Richardson. Rob was a Santa Ana guy through and through. Rob knew and appreciated our city’s history. Whether it was as an elected official or as a concerned resident, Rob dedicated himself to making Santa Ana a better place.”
“Rob was a dear friend and longtime public servant in our community, having proudly served the Santa Ana community for well over 30 years,” Mayor Pro Tem Juan Villegas of Ward 5 said. “He was someone that people admired and will be missed greatly. My condolences to his family.”
Ward 6 Councilmember Nelida Mendoza said:
“It is a very sad day in the City of Santa Ana. Rob Richardson was a lifelong Santa Ana resident who truly had a passion for his community. Rob took on the challenges of running for office because of his dedication to improving the quality of life for Santa Ana students and residents. I am deeply saddened and I extend my sincere condolences to his family.”
The flags at Santa Ana City Hall have been lowered to half-staff in honor of Mr. Richardson.