Feb. 15, 1937 – Dec. 18, 2016
Gary L. Rich, a business executive who was active as a volunteer, died Sunday in his Hamburg home after a short illness. He was 79.
Born in Buffalo, he grew up working in the family business, Rich’s Dairy, in South Buffalo. He attended Hamburg High School and graduated from The Manlius School, near Syracuse. He attended the University of Buffalo and Bryant & Stratton Business Institute, earning a degree in accounting.
He served in the Army Reserve for six years and was called for active duty during the Berlin Crisis in 1961. He was discharged in 1962 as a staff sergeant.
Mr. Rich continued working in the family dairy business, overseeing the payroll and finances, as well as daily operations, until the business was sold to Rich Products in 1965. He then joined the parent company and became a systems and technology expert, leading many office upgrades.
In the mid 1980s, he went on to work for Biels Microfilm Corp., where he was sales and marketing manager until 1995, then worked full-time as general manager of St. Matthew’s Cemetery in West Seneca, which was owned by his church. He oversaw the construction of new offices and a chapel there and negotiated its sale to the Forest Lawn Group of Cemeteries before he retired in 2008.
A lifelong member of St. Matthew’s United Church of Christ, he served as an usher, president, treasurer and member of the cemetery board and helped with maintenance.
As a member of the board of trustees of the United Church Home in Buffalo, he volunteered to assist with personnel. He also was a member of the board of directors and past president of the United Church Manor in West Seneca.
He was active with Hamburg Little Loop football, serving several years as president. A Mason, he also was a member of the Ismailia Shrine and participated in many parades as a clown, sometimes riding a tricycle.
In retirement, he volunteered for Project Linus, making and collecting blankets for ill and traumatized children.
Survivors include his wife of 54 years, the former Marilyn Endress; three daughters, Beth Foley, Dr. Kerry Patton and Gretchen Meyers; two sons, Kurt and Michael Meyers; and 12 grandchildren.
Services will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday in St. Matthew’s United Church of Christ, 5289 McKinley Parkway, Hamburg.