MALVERN , Ark – A Malvern man who is two days away from turning 100 years old got a surprise he says is one of the best he has had in his life, getting his high school diploma.

Havis Farrell Richardson was born in 1923 and with him about to celebrate being 100-years-old his family surprised him by telling Malvern High School why Richardson was unable to get his diploma. His family says the school then ordered Richardson an honorary high school diploma and presented it to him. 

“I couldn’t believe it, it was the biggest surprise I ever got in my life,” Richardson said. 

Richardson says he was 3 credits away from graduating in the 1940 at MHS when He was faced with a hard decision. 

“We [his family] were struggling. It was during The Great Depression, we had no money. I had to make a decision rather to go back to school,” Richardson said. 

Richardson says one of the reasons why it was a difficult decision was because he had accomplished so much academically, being the Junior Class President and on the honor roll. 

“I was a charter member of the junior honor society, which was impressive,” Havis said.  

Richardson says untimely he chose to leave high school to support his family like his 10 siblings. He says he got a job at a defensive plant since it was around the time of World War Two.  

“When I got out there it was 55 cents an hour,” Richardson said. 

Richardson goes on to say that it was also where he met his wife and they later started a family. 

“Mostly I’m proud of our family and how all of them have turned out. I have about 15 grandkids and about 20 great grandkids,” Richardson said. 

Richardson says he is thankful to his family for getting him something he has longed for, for so long. 

One of his 5 daughters, Debbie Richardson Hobbs says she was happy to see her father receive his diploma all these years later because she knew it was something he wanted. 

“I thought it was just a great honor that the school district did this for my dad,” Hobbs said. 

Richardson says he is thankful to his family for getting him something he has longed for, for so long. 

“I kind of regretted not having the diploma  for 80 something years. I told people that they didn’t finish high school and didn’t have a diploma,” Richardson said. 

Richardson shares his message to those aiming for their diploma.

“I know how it is to tell people you haven’t finished high school it’s very important especially now days,” Richardson said. 

Hobbs says she has also written a book being sold on Amazon about her dad named, ‘A Boy. A Story’ under her author name Debbie Sue Richardson with her dad as a contributor. 

Richardson says he is grateful for his family in their constant support and to the school for making his 100th wish come true.