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'He was one of my first friends': Students, staff bid farewell to longtime Boise school custodian

As Jerry Richey prepares to retire after 43 years at Valley View Elementary School, students and teachers are remembering the positive impact he's had on their lives.

BOISE — Valley View Elementary School in Boise is preparing to say goodbye to a longtime employee. Jerry Richey has been the custodian there for 43 years.

Richey started with the Boise School District when he was 20 years old. After a few years at another school he moved to Valley View and that's where he has stayed. Richey has created relationships with staff and students decade after decade.

He also has created a lot of memories for others because of his kind nature.

"He would take the snowblower and plow a path from my car to my classroom door so I wouldn't have to walk through the snow," said Beth Ford, a teacher at Valley View.

"I was kind of obsessed with pencil sharpeners and he always made sure my pencil sharpener was in great shape," said retired teacher Jan Eby. "When I changed schools, in walked Mr. Richey with my pencil sharpener and that's just the kind of guy he is."

Credit: Paul Boehlke/KTVB
Students and staff at Valley View Elementary School in Boise say they will miss custodian Jerry Richey, who is retiring after 43 years at the school.

And it's not just school staff who will have fond memories of Richey.

"He's always so nice and patient," student Daniel Bodziachowski said.

"He's always happy," said another student, Parker Leaf. "I'm going to be sad when he leaves because he was one of my first friends."

Credit: Paul Boehlke/KTVB
Students and staff at Valley View Elementary School in Boise say they will miss custodian Jerry Richey, who is retiring after 43 years at the school.

Those who have worked with Richey say his sense of humor helped to get them through tough days.

"You know teaching is a rewarding career, but there's a lot of pressure and having someone there that makes you laugh everyday is tremendous," teacher Jennifer Thiel said. "He's not only a friend, he's one of the best friend's I've had during my school career. "

Richey says he has loved his job and will make sure he comes back to visit after he retires.

"I've got a lot of really nice memories," he said. "It's going to be sad to leave, but you know everything has to come to an end."

Richey says he doesn't need to be recognized, but a lot of people disagree because of the positive impact he's had on their lives.

The community is urged to drop a card off at Valley View Elementary School for Richey. There is a black mailbox by the front office for him. His last day is September 28. On Friday, students and staff will honor Richey at a school assembly. And on Sept. 26, there will also be a retirement party in the school gym from 4 - 5:30 p.m.