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May 30, 1926 – May 10, 2013

Richard J. Fierle, whose family was among the founders of the hamlet of Lake View, died Friday in St. John Baptist/Hospice Buffalo after a brief illness. He was 86.

Known as “Papa Rich,” Mr. Fierle was born at the family homestead – one of nine children – and was a lifelong resident of Lake View. He and three friends developed Hanley Drive, where Mr. Fierle built the home in which he lived for 58 years.

His parents were among the founding families responsible for the formation and construction of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church and its school, as well as the creation of Lake View Volunteer Fire Company.

Mr. Fierle had a 42-year career as a territory salesman for Eaton Equipment Corp., a wholesale distributor of outdoor power lawn and garden equipment. He developed many close relationships with his customers, who remained friends.

During his tenure with Eaton Equipment, Mr. Fierle twice was named National Salesman of the Year by the Toro Company, competing against hundreds of salesmen throughout the country. He won a Limited Edition 1978 Chevrolet Corvette from Toro for attaining the largest percentage of sales increase that year.

Mr. Fierle, one of his brothers and a friend built and managed the ROBO car wash at the Athol Springs traffic circle. He and several other people also bought the property and built the recreation facilities at Lake View Burke Road playground, which include a baseball diamond, tennis courts and skating pond.

Up until the day he died, baseball was a way of life for Mr. Fierle, who played on several Lake View championship teams during his younger days.

He was an active, lifelong member of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, where he served as an usher, was a bingo volunteer and member of the Holy Name Society. He also was a member of Lake Shore Lions Club, Lake View Volunteer Fire Company, and a life member and past president of Lake View Community Association.

Mr. Fierle was a 40-year golfing member of Wanakah Country Club.

He enjoyed hunting and playing cards at his hunting camp in Great Valley. He spent winters at his vacation home in Stuart, Fla.

His wife of 44 years, Maureen C. Miller Fierle, died in 1996.

Survivors include three sons, Gregory R., Jeffery S. and Dwight G.; a daughter, Laureen Saramak; and a sister, Joan Duffy.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. today in Blessed John Paul II Church, formerly Our Lady of Perpetual Help, 2052 Lake View Road.