Jan. 18, 1942 – May 8, 2016
Richard Eugene Gritzke, of Buffalo, a business owner who was renowned as a host, died Sunday in the hospice unit of Sisters Hospital after a short illness. He was 74.
Born in Lackawanna, he was a graduate of Lackawanna High School. In his early years, his deeply resonant voice was heard on radio station WNIA, where he was a disc jockey.
He went on to open and operate a series of Carvel ice cream stores and had extensive real estate holdings. A former neighbor, Mary Simpson, recalls that his property renovations and landscaping in Days Park and elsewhere in Allentown helped restore the area.
In the 1990s, he became a restaurateur in Allentown. He and his longtime partner, Decoda Dutton, operated Bistro 16 on Allen Street, then revived Manny’s restaurant on Delaware Avenue from 1995 to 2000 and had a large mural of lions painted on its exterior wall.
Since 2000, he had worked for Erie County, first as a receptionist for the Department of Senior Services, then for the Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry. He also continued informally in his role as host, creating and overseeing parties, receptions and other events.
In addition to his partner, whom he married five years ago, survivors include two brothers, Ralph and Robert.
Services will be held at 5 p.m. Saturday in Amigone Funeral Home, 1132 Delaware Ave., after visitation at 2.