Richard Kudela died peacefully on July 19, 2019 at the Niagara Hospice House after a long and courageous battle with cancer. He was 64 years old. Rich was born on September 18, 1954 in Niagara Falls, NY, to the late Benjamin and Frances (nee Wnuk) Kudela.
He attended local schools and graduated from LaSalle High School in 1973. Upon graduating, Rich entered the overhead garage door service industry where he perfected his skills and eventually started his own business, Rich's Expert Door Service. Rich was an extremely skilled technician and took great pride in teaching his sons and his nephews the trade.
In 1986, he began his career as a fireman for the Niagara Falls Fire Department (Truck 1). He deeply valued serving his community as a firefighter and treasured the lifelong friendships he made with his fellow brother and sister firefighters. Hard work, helping others, family and friendships were the things Rich valued most in his life.
Rich was one of the biggest Buffalo sports fans you could ever meet, especially the Buffalo Bills. He owned a goal post that was ripped down on September 7, 1980 after the Bills beat the Miami Dolphins. Growing up in the 59th Street community of LaSalle, Rich created lifelong friendships with his fellow "59ers" that to this day still gather to celebrate the Bills home opener. Rich was an avid golfer and hunter. He along with his wife, Jean, built a house together in Franklinville, NY, where their family spent summers and holidays together.
As a final act of service to others, Rich chose to be a donor to the Anatomical Gift Program at the University at Buffalo. He hoped that his donation would help researchers understand more about cancer, and hopefully prevent others from suffering.
Richard is survived by his wife, Jean (Cook) Kudela; children, Richard, Jr. (Jessica), Paul (Danielle), and Katie (Terence) Pratt; grandchildren, Evangeline, Liam, Ryan and Zoe; siblings, Robert Kudela, Walter (Kathy) Kudela, and Bonnie Booth. He is also survived by many loving nieces and nephews. Richard will be dearly missed by others he considered family, especially Farzad Jalil. He was predeceased by his siblings, Kathy Kudela, Victoria Grizanti, Christopher Kudela and Benjamin Kudela.
Family and friends are invited to attend a Celebration of Life gathering at Zajac Funeral Home from 4:00-6:00 PM on Friday, July 26, 2019. A Celebration of Life Mass will take place at 6:00 PM. Visit zajacfuneralhomeinc.com for online condolences