Richi Caldwell, teacher and advisor to many INW broadcasters, passed away after a short and sudden struggle with cancer, on June 3rd, 2021, at the age of 80. Richi also was the director of a low-watt FM educational station at SFCC from 1968 to 1995. In 1996 KSFC became the second station of Spokane Public Radio, increased its wattage, and serves the region as a source of news from here and around the world.
Richi was born on November 28th, 1940 in Spokane, Washington, and after attending her early elementary years in Spokane, moved to Seattle and then to Pendleton Oregon, where she graduated from Pendleton High School.
In 1962, Richi graduated with a degree in radio, television, and speech from Washington State University, where she was a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. She later earned a master's degree from Whitworth University in Spokane.
After graduation, Richi began her professional career at King Broadcasting, as a "story lady." In 1964, she returned to Spokane with her husband and first child, becoming one of the youngest faculty members at Spokane Community College and later at Spokane Falls Community College. At SFCC she was instrumental in building the college broadcasting program that spawned KSFC "The Falls Rock." Richi taught for over 40 years at the college, touching the lives of thousands of students and broadcasters along with staff and producers at Spokane Public Radio including current Business Development & Events Director Kathy Sackett, Operations Coordinator Brian Lindsay, Community Jazz Producer Michael Grabicki, and veteran SPR Producer Michael Patoray, who died in 2019, began his radio career at SFCC/KSFC providing eclectic nighttime programming even during his student days.
During her years at the college, she pursued many professional activities, including authoring several textbooks and family histories, as well as giving speeches on subjects as diverse as gender communications and the Klondike gold rush. She even gave a lecture at Oxford University in England.
In retirement, Richi continued to pursue her many hobbies with friends including knitting, quilting, and genealogy. Richi loved to travel, touring and cruising the world including every continent except Antarctica. She was an active member of DAR, PEO, Friday Night Musical Theater, and several other formal and informal groups. She was involved in her church as a lay reader and lay eucharistic minister.
Richi is survived by her two sons Eric Caldwell (Lisa) and Sean Caldwell (Michaela), niece Courtney Taylor (Brian) and nephew Joel Watson, and many grandchildren.
Her kind heart, gentle humor, and passion for lifelong learning will continue to grow in the many lives of friends, family, and students she touched. Kathy Sackett says Richi Caldwell’s pursuit of excellence, belief in the mission of broadcasting, and the Fairness Doctrine truly live on at KSFC today. Sackett said in conversations Richi told me she was very proud that KSFC had become a public station and was continuing to grow and evolve in ways she had not envisioned back in 1968.