Sept. 14, 1938 – May 26, 2015
Richard “Dick” Ciprich of Battlement Mesa, Colo., a former Western New York resident who was inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame, died Tuesday after a long battle with cancer. He was 76.
A Battlement Mesa, Colo., resident, Mr. Ciprich was born in Pennsylvania and educated in Watkins Glen, where he was a three-sport star at Watkins Glen High School. He earned 10 letters playing basketball, football and baseball.
While baseball was his love – he would later pitch semi-pro ball and try out with the Cincinnati Reds and Washington Senators – he eventually took up his parents’ favorite sport, bowling, and became a natural on the lanes.
In 1961, Mr. Ciprich was the Watkins Glen singles champion, doubles champion, and all events champion, and was the New York State Elks singles champion.
In his early 20s, he moved to Western New York and won the Rochester All-Star championship in 1962 and started competing in bowling tournaments regularly in the Buffalo area.
From 1962 through 1976, Mr. Ciprich won at least one tournament or placed in the top 10. From 1966 through 1997, he was dominant in local, state, and national bowling in both individual and team events. He bowled with the Buffalo All-Stars, one of the most powerful teams in the country, ranked as one of the top five in the nation in the late 1960s, winning 15 championships throughout the U.S. in 1965.
Mr. Ciprich placed fourth in the U.S. Open in 1970, was the BPAA All-Star Champion the same year, All-Star Doubles Champion with Tom Baker in 1971, and a member of the ABC Tournament 10-year average list. During his career, he bowled 29 perfect games.
He was on the PBA Senior Tour and was inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame in 2007 for his 31-year bowling career.
A founding member of Up Downtown, which helped promote businesses in downtown Buffalo, he served as president in 1988.
After moving to Colorado in 2002, he and his partner, Margaret Cooke, owned the White Buffalo restaurant. He also initiated numerous fundraising events for causes such as multiple sclerosis, Grand Valley Recreation Center, Battlement Mesa Senior Citizens, and the Kiwanis/Alive-at-25 program. The restaurant was awarded the Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year award for its community activism.
Besides his partner, he is survived by two daughters, Charr Savage and Frann; a son, Kevin; a brother, Chuck; a sister, Rita Watts; four grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held later in Burdett, N.Y.