Comfort Cary Richardson
Professor of Physical Education Emeritus Comfort Cary Richardson died Friday, Oct. 26, in Kennett Square, Penna., where she and her husband Channing had retired. They first came to Clinton in 1952. Comfort pioneered women’s athletics on College Hill. When Kirkland College students first expressed interest in athletics, Comfort was hired in 1969 to create a program of instruction. She received support from Hamilton’s athletics department and developed a program that eventually led to intercollegiate teams. In addition to administering the Kirkland athletics program, Comfort coached tennis, the first female varsity sport on College Hill. She was also dean of student affairs for Kirkland the year before the two colleges combined. When Kirkland and Hamilton merged, there were four varsity sports for women, and by the time Comfort retired in 1982 as assistant professor of physical education and associate director of athletics, women’s sports were flourishing. Today there are 15 intercollegiate sports for Hamilton’s female student-athletes. In recognition of her leadership of women’s athletics on College Hill, Comfort was presented with the Bell Ringer Award, the Alumni Association’s highest honor, in 1997. Comfort and Channing, who retired in 1983 as the Henry Platt Bristol Professor of International Affairs and died in 2009, were married for 60 years. They were active in the Mohawk Valley Friends Meeting and had retired to Kendal-Crosslands, a Quaker retirement community outside Philadelphia. In 2000, alumni and friends established the Channing B. and Comfort Cary Richardson Fund for Faculty Innovation to honor the couple for their contributions to the Kirkland and Hamilton communities. We are contacting family members to get their thoughts about appropriate recognition and tribute for Comfort and will notify the Hamilton community of arrangements when they are determined. In the meantime, notice of Comfort’s death will be posted shortly on the Hamilton website where memories and reflections can be shared.