Sterling Antohn Richardson died May 19 at Fairfax Inova Hospital. He sustained injuries in a May 3 incident and had been unconscious for two weeks, according to his friend, Craig Bowman. He was 45.
Richardson was born in Washington on April 11, 1970, to Wanetta Borum-Whalen and James (Jimmy) Whalen. Both of his parents died when Sterling was a teenager.
He was a D.C. native and was always proud to have attended the School Without Walls.
Over the years, he worked as a visual design specialist at Woodward and Lothrop, Hecht’s, Banana Republic, Storehouse, William-Sonoma, Old Navy, Ethan Allen, Stein Mart, Macy’s, Marlo Furniture, Haverty Furniture and Cort Furniture, among others.
In 2008, with his partner at the time, Richardson created Spunk-E Productions, a full-service event planning and promotions company.
He began his own interior design firm in 1996, Elements of Style. Richardson enjoyed uncovering, discovering and creating beauty and at his core he was an interior designer, a fashionista and a fixture of D.C.’s gay nightlife scene. He also loved music, dancing and telling stories.
Richardson is survived by two older half brothers, Franklyn Richardson of Atlanta, and Nathaniel Richardson of Seattle. In just the past few years, Sterling had rekindled relationships with several family members in Virginia.
Beginning in the mid-1990s, Richardson became involved with SMYAL (known today as Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders, at the time known as the Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League) when his partner at that time was serving as the executive director. Richardson helped broker the deals when SMYAL purchased two row houses that serve as the organization’s youth center and offices. He also offered design help.
Memorials in Richardson’s name can be made to SMYAL at smyal.org/contribute. Note in the comments box that it’s in Richardson’s memory. Questions can be directed to (202) 546-5940, ext. 105. A memorial service is being planned. Details will be announced on Richardson’s Facebook page.