Richard Wuertzer

Obituary of Richard L. Wuertzer

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Richard L. Wuertzer 1936 - 2024 Richard Wuertzer was born in Jamestown, NY to Russell and Coletta Wuertzer. He and his brother David graduated from Falconer High School. After graduating from high school, Rich attended North Park Junior and Theological Seminary in Chicago from 1954 to 1956. While at North Park, he played baseball and basketball. He studied theology and history. In fall of 1956, Rich started at Baldwin Wallace College. He continued playing basketball and baseball there and lettered in the sports. Go Yellow Jackets! Here he also started concentrating on education as a major with a focus on history. During summers Rich worked for the Jamestown Public works department. His first summer he worked on sidewalks with Jim McCusker, who was an offensive tackle of the Philadelphia Eagles. In 2006, Rich was invited back to Baldwin Wallace to play in an alumni baseball game against the, then current, varsity baseball team. He was asked to play the position played while in college, pitcher. To train for the big game, Rich called upon one of his former baseball players for some pointers. After several weeks of training, Rich went back to Baldwin Wallace for the big game. The alumni tied with the current members 3 - 3, a huge success for a 70-year-old. After graduation from Baldwin Wallace, Rich started his teaching career in Spencer, Ohio. During this time, he met his bride-to-be Sonia, who had graduated from Bemus Point High School and William Smith College and was a mathematics teacher in Barker, New York. Sonia and Rich were married in 1960 and worked in Barker Schools for 3 years. During these three years, Rich completed his Masters of Science degree at University at Buffalo. After this, the Wuertzer Family – Rich, Sonia and Russ -- moved to Hamburg, New York where Rich would complete the rest of his 37-year teaching career – mostly as a 7 th grade social studies teacher at Hamburg Junior High School. As a teacher, Rich really enjoyed working with students. He kept a bulletin board in his classroom with the current football, hockey or baseball team’s standings and scores or other events so that more students could be involved. Rich loved sports! As his son, Russ, went through high school, Rich, and family, attended every game every season! Football, basketball and baseball -- every game, home or away, the Wuertzers were in attendance. Rich knew firsthand a great deal of basketball and baseball, so his pointers were always helpful. During the summers, Rich coached the County of Erie Baseball Association (CEBA) baseball team in Boston, NY, Russ playing catcher. And yes, all the Wuertzers were in attendance – two on the field two in the stands. Later, Jody started playing sports and again the Wuertzer fan club, although a bit smaller with Russ at Allegheny College, was in attendance. Again, Rich and Sonia did not miss a single field hockey, basketball or soccer game. The fact that Rich did not know a great deal about field hockey or soccer did not deter the cheering or enthusiasm. In the early 1990s, Rich had the honor of being the “voice of the baby Bulldogs” the modified football team. Rich was in his glory announcing the home football games for the 9 th graders  Something he continued to do until he retired in 1996. The Buffalo Bills, and NFL football in general, were a huge part of Rich’s world! If the Buffalo Bills were playing Rich was either at the stadium with his transistor radio in his ear OR watching it on TV with the sound off and the radio commentary playing since “they got it right!”. Many Thanksgiving dinners were eaten during halftime of whichever game so that the game would not be interrupted. The Superbowl years were exciting, then sad. Playoffs were always nail-biters. Rich LOVED music, in particular horns and big band music. He was a member of the Vikings, a drum and bugle corps from Jamestown, NY and later a member of the Hamburg Kingsmen playing the Contrabass while marching. Once Rich retired from playing and marching, the family would plan summer travel to various cities where Drum Corp International shows were being played. Shows in Corning, NY, Rochester, NY, Syracuse, NY, Bradford, PA, Erie, PA, Boston, MA and other cities in the Northeast were destinations. Arriving early in the day to watch corps practice – marching drills, warmups for horn lines, drum lines or color guard – then shows into the late night finally driving home late at night after the show. In retirement, Rich and Sonia still enjoyed traveling for shows especially to Madison, WI and other cities to watch the finals of Drum Corp International. These trips were not as fast paced as the ones with the family! These trips were not as fast paced as the ones with the family! Non-Drum Corps family trips were often to out of the ordinary destinations. One trip leaving in a terrible snowstorm to get to Hinkley, Ohio to see celebrate the Buzzards return, stands out to all. In retirement Rich continued to enjoy traveling. Trains, busses, cruise lines, all to see other places, meet new people and learn new things. Rich loved engaging with others and sharing his zest for friends and family. After Sonia’s death in 2009, these friends and trips kept Rich going and he developed new, deep friendships that enriched his later years. Everyone who knew Rich remembers at least one good "story” about him. WUERTZER, RICHARD L. of Hamburg, NY, passed away on July 5, 2024, beloved husband of late Sophronia "Sonia" (Gamble) Wuertzer, dear father of Russell (Lynn) Wuertzer and Dr. Jodelle “Jody” (Dr. William) Magner, loving grandfather of Brittany J. Wuertzer, Billie and Sophronia “Sophie” Magner, dearest friend of the late Pat O'Connor, brother of David (Virginia "Ginny”) Wuertzer. Friends and family may call on Saturday July 13th from 1-5PM at the JAMES W. CANNAN FUNERAL HOME, INC., 3155 Orchard Park Road in Orchard Park. In lieu of flowers donations may be sent to the Hamburg High School Athletic Department. Mr. Wuertzer was a Junior High School 7th grade Social Studies teacher, a graduate of Baldwin Wallace University and the University of Buffalo. The Buffalo Bills named him the season ticket member of the game December 24, 2016 and was a Buffalo Bills season ticket holder for over 40 years.