Richard A. Lillis, an Amherst businessman, died Sunday in his East Amherst home after a two-year battle with melanoma. He was 72.
Born in Buffalo the son of Irish immigrants, he was a graduate of Riverside High School and won the Western New York Golden Gloves welterweight boxing championship when he was 19.
As a young man, Mr. Lillis worked for Hard Manufacturing and owned his own business repairing chimneys. After moving to Amherst, he bought the Pine Lodge on Millersport Highway in Getzville, which became a popular nightspot with young people. Now known as Sean Patrick's, it is operated by his son.
He bought and developed land in Amherst, primarily for condominiums and town houses. He also built oceanfront condominiums in Deerfield Beach, Fla.
Mr. Lillis was named Businessman of the Year in 1998 by the Getzville Businessmen's Association.
For several years, he took part with his granddaughters in the American Academy of Ballet's "Nutcracker" as a member of the party scene.
Surviving are his wife of 50 years, the former Carol Ann Stenman; a son, Sean P. of Clarence; four daughters, Maureen, Tara Niederpruem and Megan Rosen, all of East Amherst, and Erin McCarthy of Amherst; and 15 grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 11 a.m. Friday in St. Mary's Catholic Church, 6919 Transit Road, Swormville, after prayers at 9:45 in Amigone Funeral Home, 5200 Sheridan Drive, Amherst. Burial will be in the church cemetery.