- Associated Press - Friday, June 13, 2014

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) - Dora Lockhart remembers the last hours she spent with her son Wednesday.

Lockhart spent the majority of the day with her son Johnny Richmond, better known in the Auburn community as “Mr. Penny.” The man who was known to do pushups for every Tiger touchdown in Jordan-Hare Stadium was comatose at the time in a hospital bed at his home on Boykin Street.

It was the time Lockhart remembers that Richmond began to breathe hard. She clasped her son’s hands and told him it was going to be alright.

“I told him, ‘I love you. This is your mother,’” Lockhart said. “I said, ‘I love you from the bottom of my heart.’”

A couple of hours later, Lockhart was in choir rehearsal when her granddaughter told her that Richmond had passed away at 8:15 p.m. that night. He was 61 years old.

Lockhart said she knows her son did not suffer when he died and that God took care of him every step of the way.

“He’s gone on to rest now,” Lockhart said. “He has no more worries and no more pain.”

Richmond’s wife, Lula, said that over the past month, her husband’s health had started getting worse. Richmond, who suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head in 2012, had been asleep for nearly a month by the time he had passed away.

“I knew it was coming,” Lula said. “I knew it was happening Monday; that’s when it started.”

Lula said the fact that her partner of 27 years is gone hasn’t quite hit her yet, but that she is happy that he is no longer in pain and in Heaven now.

“When I just think about it, I start crying and getting emotional, even though I know they’re going to be good tears,” Lula said. “They won’t be sad tears; they’ll be happy tears.”

Richmond’s daughter, Marenda, said she is glad she was able to spend the last two years with her father, where she was able to talk and laugh with him as she helped to take care of him. Marenda said Richmond is in a better place now.

“He always said he was going to do his pushups and I think that’s what he’s doing and smiling down on us,” Marenda said.

Lula said she is grateful for the support she and her family received from the community and that it wouldn’t be forgotten, from the handicap-accessible van donated to Richmond to all the prayers directed at him and his family.

“He will be remembered well because we have a lot of things to remember him by,” Lula said.

Lula’s niece, Sarah Griffin, said she had known Richmond for years, working closeby as a crossing guard at Auburn High School while he worked as a crossing guard at Dean Road Elementary School, where he worked for 37 years. Griffin fondly remembers yelling “Roll Tide” to him from across the street while he would yell “War Eagle” on multiple occasions.

“The reason people loved him was that he was a people person,” Griffin said. “Everybody knew that he was an Auburn fan and wherever you see him, he’s going to greet you with ‘War Eagle.’”

Marenda said that even while he was bedridden, he still talked about the people he cared the most about.

“He loved everybody and he touched everyone’s lives, especially the kids out there on Dean Road and kids that had been through Dean Road,” Marenda said. “He enjoyed them and while he was down, he was talking about the kids there and how much he missed them.”

If one thing was certain, it was that Richmond’s devotion to Auburn University would be his ultimate legacy.

“He will be remembered as the No. 1 fan at Auburn,” Griffin said.

Richmond’s funeral will be held Tuesday at Auburn United Methodist Church. The service will start at 1 p.m.

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