Richard M. Guilz, a man devoted to his family and community, died with his loving family by his side at St. Peter's Hospice on Saturday, March 10, 2018.
Born in Jamaica, Queens, and raised in Valley Stream, Long Island, he was one of four children of the late Roland F. and Catherine (nee Gallagher) Guilz. The family moved to Sloansville, Schoharie County, when Richard was 17, and there he met his wife to be, Carol Ruth Bradt. They were high school sweethearts, married at 19, and enjoyed a loving and joy filled marriage for 52 years. Richard and Carol lived briefly in Sloansville after marriage, then moved to Altamont for a few years, and then on to East Berne in 1971, where they bought their first home and settled down to raise their two children, Richard Jr, and Lynn.
Richard attended Schenectady County Community College for computer programming in 1969, and then started a long career with Colony Liquor Distributors, of Menands, NY, where he advanced to Operations Manager before retiring in 2001. He oversaw many computer upgrades for his company and was the "go-to" guy for many major projects. After retiring, he then went on to work with his son Rich Jr., and his father in law, Edwin J. Bradt, in the family Amsoil business, which he enjoyed immensely, and worked at right up until his passing. He was intelligent, with life experience and wisdom, and was also a diplomat, skills that bode him well as he served as Town Justice for the Town of Berne for close to 23 years, retiring from that role in 2008.
Richard had a special love for family and his many close friends. He remained very close to his brothers and sister throughout his life. His grandsons Peter and Jacob, as well as his daughter "Lynnie", were the apple of his eye. He was the shoulder that could be leaned on by many friends and family, and was quick to offer any type of advice, guidance, and assistance to anyone that asked. Like his father Roland, Richard was a very generous man and had an open-door policy for friends and family. Richard and Carol's home was often a gathering place for Lynnie and Rich Jr's friends during their high school years, with lots of "hanging out" and shooting pool type activities for many years in the eighties. Rich and Carol were the ultimate "cool parents" and their driveway was often full of Lynn and young Richard's friend's bicycles, snowmobiles, and cars.
Not long after moving to East Berne in 1971, Richard joined the East Berne Volunteer Fire Company, where he immediately made many new friends. Rich was warmly welcomed by his new community and made many lifelong friends through the fire company. In his 45 years of service to EBFC, he served as a line officer for many years, including Chief, and then served as a Commissioner for the Berne Fire District. He was one of the first Emergency Medical Technicians on the "East Berne side of town" and served as an EMT for first the Berne Fire Company Ambulance Squad, and then Helderberg Ambulance. Richard was highly respected among his peers in the fire service and many firefighters were among his closest lifelong friends. Rich continued to wear his pager and respond to the fire station during emergencies, even when he was sick, as his passion for the fire service was strong and he loved the camaraderie of his firefighting brothers and sisters. Firefighting was literally "in his blood", as he followed a long lineage of firefighters, including his father. His son, Rich Jr. followed in his footsteps.
A member of the Helderberg Evangelical Lutheran Church, Richard was a lifelong Christian, and his actions in life reflected his faith. He enjoyed many types of sports, including softball, golf, snowmobiling, baseball and football. His favorite teams were the New York Giants and New York Mets. He went on many snowmobiling trips with Rich Jr, John McGivern, and Lance Bradt, among other friends, with many crazy stories and laughs that were talked about for decades. Richard and his wife Carol enjoyed traveling with close friends and family, and took several memorable trips, including two trips to Ireland, and several to Colorado. Richard led a full and virtuous life and was blessed with the love of his family and a very large circle of friends. Richard was a protector and confidante of his daughter Lynn, they had a special and very close relationship. He will be missed by all, especially his beloved grandsons.
Richard M. Guilz, Sr, is survived by his loving wife Carol R. (nee Bradt) Guilz, whom he married on August 14, 1965; two loving children, Richard M. Guilz Jr, and his wife Holly, of Altamont, and C. Lynn Hemingway, and her husband Peter of East Berne.
He is also survived by one loving sister, Catherine Guilz Fisher (Mike), and two brothers, Roland J. Guilz (Jane), and Gerard Guilz (Patty). Another "brother", cousin Stephen Blessinger of Lindenhurst, NY, was truly a brother to Richard and they loved each other dearly.
He is survived too, by his cherished grandchildren, Peter and Jacob, and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Calling hours will be 4-8 pm on Friday, March 16 at the Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont, NY.
Funeral services will be held at 11 am on Saturday, March 17, at the Helderberg Evangelical Lutheran Church in Berne.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the East Berne Volunteer Fire Company, PO Box 32, East Berne, NY, 12059, or the Helderberg Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1728 Helderberg Trail, Berne, NY 12023