CHARLOTTE - Jon Richardson, a central figure in the history of the Panthers and their picturesque stadium, died Tuesday following a lengthy battle with cancer.
Richardson, the son of Panthers Owner/Founder Jerry Richardson, was 53 years old.
"We are very saddened to learn of the passing of Jon Richardson," the Panthers organization said in a statement. "He was a great friend of many people throughout the organization and played an integral role in the history of the Panthers in the building of Bank of America Stadium. Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Richardson family."
Richardson served as president of Panthers Stadium LLC from its inception in 1994 until 2009. Under his leadership, what is today known as Bank of America Stadium quickly became regarded as one of the NFL's most renowned facilities. In 2003, the stadium was among the facilities cited when the National Building Museum named the NFL a recipient of The Honor Award in recognition of the importance that football stadiums have played in the physical revitalization of American cities.
A constant and beloved presence at the stadium site during construction and around the grounds throughout the evolution of the Panthers organization, Richardson oversaw a series of enhancements to the classically designed stadium throughout his tenure. Among his final projects were the addition of the Gridiron Club and a new scoreboard and sound system in 2008.
Richardson was a three-year letterman for the University of North Carolina, leading the team in receptions in 1981 and earning a training camp tryout with the Baltimore Colts in 1982. After receiving his degree in economics in 1982, Richardson spent three years in the food industry before returning to North Carolina to earn his MBA in 1987. He then began A-OK Home Services in Chapel Hill and sold the successful enterprise after five years.
Richardson is survived by his wife, Kathleen, his son, Johnson, and daughters Rose and Claire.