Richardson, Greer chamber leader, BMW executive, dies

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Wednesday, December 31, 2014

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"Bunny" Bonita Sue Richardson, 63, died Wednesday after a long bout with cancer.





Bunny (Bonita) Richardson, former communications executive at BMW Manufacturing Co., and recognized for her leadership and service to the Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce, died Wednesday at her home in Simpsonville. She was 63.

Richardson died after a long struggle with cancer. Her husband of 39 years, Randall "Randy" Richardson at her side.

Richardson joined BMW at the company's North American assembly plant in Greer in 1995. She retired in 2012 and opened her own communications-consulting firm – BSR Communication. The past two years Richardson edited the Greer Experience, an annual business publication of the chamber of commerce.

She helped coordinate the 50th anniversary for Mitsubishi Polyester Film in September.

Greer benefited from Richardson's involvement in the community. She was a member of the chamber's search committee that recruited Allen Smith as president/CEO in May 2010. As a member of the Partnership for Tomorrow, Richardson co-chaired the communications and investor relations committee.

She was on the Greater Greer Education Foundation board of directors and chairwoman of the chamber's executive board in 2006.

The chamber honored Richardson with the Sen. J. Verne Smith Award for leadership and service in 2013.

"Bunny was a blessing to our community and our chamber," said Mark Owens, Greer Chamber President/CEO. "Greer is a better place for having Bunny involved in our growth. She will always be remembered and celebrated for being such a strong and upbeat leader.  We will all miss her dearly."

Richardson's early career at the Columbia Record and The State covered 20 years as a reporter, editor and assistant managing editor. Bobby Hitt, who was a USC classmate and deskmate at the Columbia Record with Richardson, became her boss at the newspapers and hired her at BMW.

Richardson spoke on her newspaper career in a video for the South Carolina Press Association. She also said how she wanted to be remembered as a journalist.

“I hope to be remembered as a good editor and writer but someone who helped young reporters and editors grow and mature. A teacher if you will,” Richardson said. “I may have been tough but they learned from me. But we were a team and cared about each other.”

Born in Columbia, Richardson grew up in Williston, and graduated from the University of South Carolina (Journalism, 1973).

Richardson was a daughter of the late George Henson Smith and the late Betty Ruth Hair Smith.

In addition to her husband, Randy, she is survived by her sister, Anne Browning Hart, and her husband, Bill, of Georgia.

A private memorial service for the family will be held on Saturday, Jan. 3 at 11 a.m. in the chapel of the Heritage Funeral Home in Simpsonville. The family will receive friends following the private service.







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