OBITUARY

Renay Melitta Fariss-Richardson

November 12, 1959November 4, 2018
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Renay Melitta Fariss-Richardson passed away on November 4, 2018 at Johnston-Willis Hospital in Richmond Virginia after a four-month battle with cancer, eight days shy of her 59th birthday. Renay is survived by her loving husband of 33 years, Frank R. “Chip” Richardson; her father, Robert Linwood Fariss; her sister, Susan Marie (Michael) Whiteside; brothers Thomas Linwood (Margaret) Fariss and Robert Andrew (Erin) Fariss; and nine nieces and nephews (Tyler Richardson, Andrew Richardson, Samantha Richardson, Taylor Whiteside, Grace Whiteside, Mitchell Fariss, Lauren Fariss, Jacob Fariss and Emma Fariss). She was preceded in death by her mother, Renate “Nan” Melitta Fischer Fariss.

Born and raised in Roanoke, Virginia, Renay graduated in 1978 from Cave Spring High School. She later attended the University of Radford, where she was a member of the Phi Gamma Mu honor society, graduating in 1985. Renay was admitted to the Virginia State Bar shortly after her graduation from T.C. Williams Law School in 1988. She was further admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of Virginia, the Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, and the United States District Court in 1989. Renay worked for a short time with the law firm of White, Blackburn & Conte, P.C. in Richmond, before opening her own law practice based in Chesterfield County in 1990, Renay M. Fariss, Attorney at Law. The primary focus of her practice was Domestic Relations. She was a staunch advocate of children’s rights and their welfare and she represented clients throughout many jurisdictions across eastern Virginia. She was also a highly sought-after divorce attorney in the Richmond area. Renay scaled her practice back in 2016, working part-time; primarily taking care of her longtime clients, tending to her dogs and trying to relax a little bit more.

Renay’s love of dogs led her to become a breeder of purebred Chow Chows, from which she championed twelve of her dogs. She was a sincere advocate of all animal rights and often brought strays home until she could find forever homes for them. Renay enjoyed couples golf and women’s tennis at Brandermill Country Club and ocean cruising.

The family wishes to extend their deep appreciation to both the Atrium ICU staff and the Women’s Pavilion staff at Johnston-Willis Hospital for the compassionate care and support Renay received.

A gathering of friends and family is scheduled for Monday, November 12th at Woody Funeral Home at 1020 Huguenot Road in Midlothian, Virginia from 3:30pm to 6:30pm. A memorial service will be held in Roanoke, Virginia, on Wednesday, November 21st, at Christ Lutheran Church, 2011 Brandon Avenue SW, at 11:00am. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions maybe made to the Safe Harbor Shelter in Richmond, Virginia or the Richmond Animal League. Online condolences may be made at www.woodyfuneralhome.com

  • FAMILY

  • Renay is survived by her loving husband of 33 years, Frank R. “Chip” Richardson; her father, Robert Linwood Fariss; her sister, Susan Marie (Michael) Whiteside; brothers Thomas Linwood (Margaret) Fariss and Robert Andrew (Erin) Fariss; and nine nieces and nephews (Tyler Richardson, Andrew Richardson, Samantha Richardson, Taylor Whiteside, Grace Whiteside, Mitchell Fariss, Lauren Fariss, Jacob Fariss and Emma Fariss). She was preceded in death by her mother, Renate “Nan” Melitta Fischer Fariss.
  • DONATIONS

  • Safe Harbor Shelter in Richmond, Virginia
  • Richmond Animal League

Services

21 November

Memorial Service

11:00 am

Christ Lutheran Church

2011 Brandon Avenue SW
Roanoke, Virginia

PREVIOUS SERVICES:

  • Memorial Visitation Monday, November 12, 2018
REMEMBERING

Renay Melitta Fariss-Richardson

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Leigh Phipps

November 7, 2018

Dear sweet Renay! We met competing with our dogs in Richmond. I was a total newbie and she showed me the ropes and became a dear friend and mentor. She will be greatly missed! I admired her passion for dogs and she also was tremendous emotional support when I went through a divorce. Such a kind and generous soul! RIP Renay.

Pam Cropper Hilton

November 7, 2018

My dear friend, Renay! We were best friends growing up in lower and middle school, and would be at each other's house every day. Even then, she spoke her mind and was not afraid to do it. As most people know, I had a very stern father. He came to Renay's house and demanded I come home. Renay stood right in his face and told him he was wrong. Wow, that took some guts! I was proud of her for starting on a different path after high school, and then changing her direction to pursue her passion of becoming a lawyer. I would talk to Renay many times over Facebook, and I was so grateful for social media to connect with her. My condolences and heart go to to her sister, father, and brother. They are great people and they have gone through a lot in loosing their mom and sister. May God bless you Renay, and I know I will see you one day. This isn't the end. It's only the beginning of her new life with Christ. That gives me comfort, and hope it will help others.

Brian Parker

November 6, 2018

Wow!
Wasn’t Renay smart & caring, innovative & brave & bold, a mover & shaker, compassionate, personality & style, intuitive and courageous to call it as it is.
Unwavering and focused, fierce and non-conforming when necessary & a fighter for other’s rights, and a true pioneer with real vision to lead when others are weak.
And I barely know a portion of her rich Life. I can hear her voice in the lunch room right now... and seeing her stride out into the hallways from some of the hardest classes we had.
Greatness amongst us!
Thank you, Renay, for being so strong for others! THANK YOU for leading the way when others could not find theirs. Peace to your heart Sister! God blessing you now... (CSHS, Class of ‘78)

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Biography

Renay Melitta Fariss-Richardson passed away on November 4, 2018 at Johnston-Willis Hospital in Richmond Virginia after a four-month battle with cancer, eight days shy of her 59th birthday. Renay is survived by her loving husband of 33 years, Frank R. “Chip” Richardson; her father, Robert Linwood Fariss; her sister, Susan Marie (Michael) Whiteside; brothers Thomas Linwood (Margaret) Fariss and Robert Andrew (Erin) Fariss; and nine nieces and nephews (Tyler Richardson, Andrew Richardson, Samantha Richardson, Taylor Whiteside, Grace Whiteside, Mitchell Fariss, Lauren Fariss, Jacob Fariss and Emma Fariss). She was preceded in death by her mother, Renate “Nan” Melitta Fischer Fariss.

Born and raised in Roanoke, Virginia, Renay graduated in 1978 from Cave Spring High School. She later attended the University of Radford, where she was a member of the Phi Gamma Mu honor society, graduating in 1985. Renay was admitted to the Virginia State Bar shortly after her graduation from T.C. Williams Law School in 1988. She was further admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of Virginia, the Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, and the United States District Court in 1989. Renay worked for a short time with the law firm of White, Blackburn & Conte, P.C. in Richmond, before opening her own law practice based in Chesterfield County in 1990, Renay M. Fariss, Attorney at Law. The primary focus of her practice was Domestic Relations. She was a staunch advocate of children’s rights and their welfare and she represented clients throughout many jurisdictions across eastern Virginia. She was also a highly sought-after divorce attorney in the Richmond area. Renay scaled her practice back in 2016, working part-time; primarily taking care of her longtime clients, tending to her dogs and trying to relax a little bit more.

Renay’s love of dogs led her to become a breeder of purebred Chow Chows, from which she championed twelve of her dogs. She was a sincere advocate of all animal rights and often brought strays home until she could find forever homes for them. Renay enjoyed couples golf and women’s tennis at Brandermill Country Club and ocean cruising.

The family wishes to extend their deep appreciation to both the Atrium ICU staff and the Women’s Pavilion staff at Johnston-Willis Hospital for the compassionate care and support Renay received.

A gathering of friends and family is scheduled for Monday, November 12th at Woody Funeral Home at 1020 Huguenot Road in Midlothian, Virginia from 3:30pm to 6:30pm. A memorial service will be held in Roanoke, Virginia, on Wednesday, November 21st, at Christ Lutheran Church, 2011 Brandon Avenue SW, at 11:00am. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions maybe made to the Safe Harbor Shelter in Richmond, Virginia or the Richmond Animal League. On line condolences may be made at www.woodyfuneralhome.com