Arthur A. Richer, 70, of Tupper Lake and Port Charlotte, Fla., passed away peacefully on Sunday June 30, 2013.
Born in Tupper Lake Aug. 11, 1942, Art was the son of the late Albert and Cecile (Brunet) Richer. After graduating from Holy Ghost Academy in 1960, he earned a degree from Simmons School of Embalming and Mortuary Science in Syracuse. On July 31, 1963, he and the former Patricia Boyer Gagnon were joined in marriage at St. Alphonsus Church in Tupper Lake.
He worked at the Richer Funeral Home owned by his brother Marcel V. Richer and was very active in the community until 1968 at which time the family relocated to Herkimer after purchasing the former James Burns & Son Funeral Home. For the next 20 years the family owned and operated the Burns-Richer Funeral Service as well as the Petykiewicz Funeral Home.
In 1988, Art and Pat relocated back to Tupper Lake. In 1991, he and nephew Michael F. Richer purchased the Richer Funeral Home, where they operated it until 2006, at which time the business was sold to Stuart, Keough, Fortune Funeral Home.
Early in the 1960s, Art was elected grand knight of Tupper Lake Council 2177 and was a 4th degree Knight. For several years, he was chief counselor for the Knight's Columbian Squire program In 1966, Art was elected as a Franklin County coroner and in 1967 was elected a trustee for the village of Tupper Lake. In December 1968, he resigned these positions when he and his family moved to Herkimer.
While in Herkimer from 1968 to 1988, he was very active in community affairs. His activity in Boy Scouts with his boys led him to become president of the General Herkimer Council in 1980 to 1982, and in 1983, was awarded the prestigious Silver Beaver award by the Boy Scouts of America.
In 1985, Art served as president of the Mohawk Valley United Fund and was named an honorary member of the St. Anthony's Crusaders, wherefor 20 years he loved singing in the St. Anthony Glee Club. He was active in St. Francis DeSales Church and served as its first Parish Council president. He was also an active member of the Grange and served as Master of Fort Dayton Grange in Herkimer. Art was a member of the Herkimer Elk's Lodge 1439 where he progressed through the chairs and served as Exalted Ruler from 1973 to 1974. In 1979, he served a term as village trustee in Herkimer and was active in the Herkimer community until 1988 when he sold the business to the Iocovozzi family.
In 1989 after moving back to Tupper Lake, Art became active in the Tupper lake Rod & Gun club serving as president from 1991 to 2001. During that time, many improvements to the club property were undertaken. Art was a retired volunteer of the Tupper Lake Fire Department and was captain of Company Number 5. For the past 10 years, community-minded residents worked on creating the Tupper Lake Heritage Museum and have been working to achieve their goal. In the summer of 2007, the museum committee entered into an agreement with the Village of Tupper Lake for the use of the former downtown "Faust" fire hall as their permanent location.
Art and Pat winter in Port Charlotte, Fla., where he was active in its Garden Club, Choir and Fire Club.
Art is survived by his wife Patricia; their six children: Richard J. Gagnon Jr. and wife Cheryl of Kinderhook, Jackie Ann O'Brien of North Andover, Mass., Adele Ann Richer of Pikesville, Md., Arthur A. Richer Jr. and wife Laura of Fairfax, Va., Ronald Patrick Richer and wife Suzanne of Exeter, N.H. and Patricia Richer of Syracuse; 13 grandchildren: Casey and Mollie O'Brien; Alexandra, Andrew and Benjamin Kadish; Regina and Cecilia Gagnon; Emma, Arthur III, Joseph and Katherine Richer and Ronald Jr. and Sophia Richer; two brothers: Roland of Tupper Lake and Leonard of Syracuse; and many nieces and nephews. Art was pre-deceased by his sister Rita Cummings and three brothers: Marcel, Hervie and Herbert.
Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, July 29, at St. Alphonsus Church in Tupper Lake and this Fall in Maple Leaf Estates in Port Charlotte, Fla.
At Arts request, contributions, in lieu of flowers, can be made to the Tupper Lake Heritage Museum, P.O. Box 1031, Tupper Lake, NY 12986 (for his New York friends and family) or the Maple Leaf Garden Club Beautification Memorial Fund, 2100 Kings Highway, Port Charlotte, NY 33980 (for the Maple Leaf Community).