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Services for Richard J. Couch, a retired Grand Island attorney and prominent Republican, were held Thursday in St. Timothy's Lutheran Church, Grand Island.

Couch, 73, died Saturday (Sept. 22, 2001) in Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center after a long illness.

Born in the City of Tonawanda, Couch served in the Coast Guard during World War II.

He started his law practice on Grand Island after graduating in 1957 from the University of Buffalo Law School.

Couch was a past chairman of the Grand Island Republican Committee. He was elected to the Board of Assessors, served as a justice of the peace for the town and was an elections inspector.

He also served for 10 years on the board of the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce and was a past president. Under his leadership, the first Citizen of the Year dinner was started, membership increased, a town telephone directory was published, and the history of Grand Island was republished under the title "Cinderella Island."

Couch was honored as Grand Island Professional Man of the Year in 1972 and as Grand Island Citizen of the Year in 1977.

During his tenure on the Grand Island School Board, the construction of Grand Island High School was approved.

While serving as town attorney, from 1964 to 1980, he was instrumental in the construction of Town Hall.

He later returned as town attorney for two years and served without compensation as counsel and adviser to many civic, charitable and religious organizations.

Couch enjoyed boating and was a member of the Buffalo Launch Club, where he served on the board for eight years and was elected commodore in 1990. He was a member of the Blue Gavel, a worldwide organization of past commodores, and the LaSalle Yacht Club.

He provided his boat to the Boy Scouts for their yearly trips to Navy Island, arranged boat trips for handicapped people at the annual Lions Club picnic held at the Buffalo Launch Club and cooked for the annual Palm Sunday Masonic Breakfast.

Couch also organized and led several protests, including a highly publicized campaign to slow down and block traffic to the Grand Island Bridges to protest a toll increase. The toll for island residents was later reduced.

He later organized Save A Deer to protest the licensing of groups to hunt deer on Navy Island.

Surviving are his wife of 48 years, Marilyn Burke Couch; four daughters, Vala O'Boyle of Grand Island, Linda Faletto of Carrboro, N.C., Marla Wendel of Pittsford and Debra Couch Misra of Rochester; and five grandchildren.

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