Richard Laurence Hume, widely recognized scholar of the American Civil War, passed away Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019, at the Avalon Care Center in Pullman with his beloved wife Ann, son Jeremy and dear friends at his bedside. He is also survived by his sister Shari Elmer (Frank) of Los Altos, Calif., and his nieces, Mackenzie and Sheridan Elmer.

Richard was born Nov. 9, 1939, in Prescott, Ariz., to Jack and Audrey (Pierce) Hume. His magical childhood in Prescott, where his family owned Hume’s Home Bakery, was full of fishing, scouting, Saturday matinee cowboy double features and hanging out with friends from Lincoln School.

During his Prescott High School years, the family moved to Phoenix, where Richard completed high school. He continued his education at Arizona State University, Tempe, discovering what became a lifelong passion for history and earning his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees. At this time, he had the great good fortune to meet Ann Stewart, and they were married June 6, 1961. The young couple moved to Seattle, where Richard had received a teaching assistantship at the University of Washington. It was there that he developed his professional skills under the guidance of noted Civil War historian Thomas Pressley and received his Ph.D. in 1969.

The Humes then moved to Pullman, where Richard was appointed as an assistant professor of history at Washington State University. He was a faculty member in the WSU Department of History for the rest of his professional career, serving eight years as department chair. His areas of specialty were the Civil War and the Reconstruction Era, and he also taught American surveys and courses on the Jeffersonian and Jacksonian eras. Known and respected as a dedicated and rigorous teacher, Richard retired from WSU in 2009.

A devoted husband and father, Richard enjoyed fishing, the outdoors, watching sporting events, and especially gardening and discussing politics. Some of his most cherished times were the family trips to the Wallowa Mountains in Oregon. Richard and Ann also took several enjoyable trips over the years with the Roadrunners travel club.

Richard was an avid admirer of Abraham Lincoln and spent much of his professional career, as well as many coffee sessions, with his WSU department colleagues, pointing out Lincoln’s wisdom and storytelling skills. Richard’s books, “God Made Man, Man Made the Slave: The Autobiography of George Teamoh,” co-edited with F.N. Boney and Rafia Zafar, and “Blacks, Carpetbaggers and Scalawags: The Constitutional Conventions of Radical Reconstruction,” co-authored with his colleague, Jerry Gough, as well as a journal article on the same subject, are essential sources for scholars seeking an understanding of the Reconstruction period.

A drop-in reception is planned for 2:30 p.m. Dec. 18 with a memorial tribute at 3:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Express in Pullman.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Richard L. Hume Memorial Fund, Sharlot Hall Museum, 415 Gurley St., Prescott, AZ 86301.

Kimball Funeral Home of Pullman has been entrusted with arrangements. Online condolences may be sent to

This Lincoln quote is fitting for Richard the gardener and Richard Hume the man: “I want it said of me by those who knew me best, that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow.”

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