April 24, 1935 – Feb. 5, 2018
Larry Bieler always was ready to help.
In his commercial cleaning business, Bieler Janitorial Services, he spruced up floors, carpets, upholstery and ceramic tile in offices, schools and commercial spaces. After he retired in 2004, he still came to the office regularly for another 10 years.
“He took care of the mail and the banking,” said his daughter, Connie Matthews, “and he rinsed out the mops.”
Mr. Bieler died Monday in the Skilled Nursing Facility at Fox Run, Orchard Park, after a seven-month illness. He was 82.
As an active member of the Orchard Park Lions Club, where he served as president, he pitched in on numerous community projects and fundraisers for the club. He was awarded the Melvin Jones Fellowship Award by the Lions Clubs International Foundation, its highest honor, for his years of service to the organization.
He was one of the original members of Friends of the Fair, which started in 1987 as a small group of volunteers doing a survey for the Erie County Fair.
They were so successful that fair management decided to find more things for volunteers to do. Currently there are about 200 of them, parking cars in the handicapped areas, greeting visitors at the gates and staffing the information booths.
Mr. Bieler went on to be recognized by the Erie County Agricultural Society for outstanding contributions to the fair.
"He was someone who just wanted to do things. He enjoyed helping people and taking part in the community," said Matthews.
She recalled other volunteer efforts by her father, such as buying musical instruments for some children who couldn't afford them and participating regularly in Kids Days, the annual fundraiser for Oishei Children's Hospital and Cradle Beach.
"He was a very giving person," she said.
Born in his parents’ home in Orchard Park, Mr. Bieler was a 1953 graduate of West Seneca High School and took adult education classes at Erie 2 BOCES.
He served four years of active duty in the Air Force. Stationed in Germany, he attained the rank of airman first class, then returned to serve two more years in the Air Reserve.
He worked at first as an auto mechanic, then joined with his older brother, Robert, to establish Bieler Janitorial Services in 1965. Prior to his retirement, he was president of the company, which now is headed by his son, Kevin L., and wife, Tracie.
Mr. Bieler was a past president of the Orchard Park Chamber of Commerce.
He also had been a member of the Orchard Park Jaycees, the Orchard Park Auxiliary Police, Orchard Park Post 567, American Legion; Zion Lodge 514, Free & Accepted Masons; Emmanuel United Church of Christ and St. John’s Lutheran Church.
He enjoyed hunting and camping in Cuba, N.Y.
His wife of 40 years, the former Sharon Matevia, died in 2001.
His son, Wayne L., is Orchard Park town engineer. A nephew, Scott Bieler, is president of West Herr Automotive Group.
In addition to his brother, sons and daughter, survivors include another son, Russel K.; 11 grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Feb. 12 in St. John’s Lutheran Church, 4536 S. Buffalo St., Orchard Park.