Southeastern Machinery Founder Passes Away at 77

Mon January 13, 2020 - Southeast Edition #2
CEG


Kenneth R. Richbourg
Kenneth R. Richbourg

Kenneth R. Richbourg, 77, of Savannah, Ga., died Dec. 28, 2019.

Mr. Richbourg served in the U.S. Navy from 1959-1963 aboard the USS Midway. Following his military service, he began a lifelong career in the heavy equipment business. He was owner and president of Southeastern Machinery in Savannah, Ga., and Grove River Machinery in Richmond Hill, Ga. He was an active member of Richmond Hill Church of Christ.

He started in the equipment business with Van Lott in Columbia, S.C., in 1963. After almost 18 years with the company, he started his own company, Southeastern Machinery, and grew the company to three locations in Savannah, Macon and Augusta, Ga., as a Fiat Allis dealer and then eventually adding the Samsung line. After close to 20 years of business success with Southeastern Machinery, Mr. Richbourg sold the business to another company, and in 2001, opened Grove River Leasing in the Savannah suburbs of Richmond Hill, Ga.

Company representatives stated that "Ken could finance anyone." Years later, the business was renamed Grove River Machinery, which took on the Hyundai line and grew the Hyundai business in the Savannah and surrounding territory from zero market share to being a prominent player in the area.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Moses and Blanche Richbourg and grandson, Kenneth Blake Richbourg. Surviving are his wife of 56 years, Jeanette Richbourg; daughter Dawn Hite (Dean) of Calhoun, Ga.; son Jeff Richbourg (Laura Mulens and her son, Alex Mulens) of Jupiter, Fla.; daughter-in-law, Sarah Richbourg of Savannah, Ga. Grandchildren, Madeline Swafford (Hutch) of Calhoun, Ga.; Rebecca Hite of Calhoun, Ga.; and David Richbourg of Savannah, Ga.

Mr. Richbourg also is survived by brothers, Donald Richbourg, Floyd Richbourg and Calvin Richbourg; sister, Gwen Fowler, their spouses, as well as, sisters-in-law Marilyn Burnam, Kathleen Pye, Pat Bennett and brother-in-law Les Bennett and nieces, nephews and cousins.

Mr. Richbourg's funeral service was held Jan. 4, 2020, at Fox & Weeks Funeral Directors, Hodgson Chapel. Interment followed at Greenwich Cemetery.

Flowers are appreciated, however memorial gifts may be made to the Alzheimer's Association, als.org and Mt. Dora Children's Home, 301 W. 13th Ave., Mt. Dora, FL 32757, mdchome.org. CEG