Eugene  Rich

Obituary of Eugene A. Rich

Gene passed away on January 20, 2023 at the age of 79.  He was the son of Aurel and Eva (nee: Kehres) Rich. Gene was born on June 27, 1943 in Painesville. He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Penny (nee: Haffa); son, Edward Rich; and daughter, Kendra Rich.

He was a 1961 graduate of Harvey High School.  Gene proudly served in the US Marine Corps and was a veteran of the Vietnam War.  After his military service he hired on with CEI as an overhead lineman.  He also worked as a concrete finisher for over 45 years until his retirement.  With a desire to serve in his community, Gene joined the Painesville Police Department in 1969, retiring in 1992.  While there, he served as a patrolman, detective bureau, Sergeant, and K-9 handler for the newly formed K-9 unit with his partner K-9 Rommel and was in charge of the K-9 unit.  During his career as a police officer he was awarded the Lake County Blue Coats George Medina Distinguished  Service Award in 1983 for a case he worked during his tenure in the detective bureau.

After many years of dedication to K-9s he was certified as a Trainer and attained Master Trainer status with North American Police Work Dog Association (NAPWDA) where he trained and certified other K-9 teams for the State of Ohio and many other states.  He was appointed as national accreditation chairman and coordinator for the State of Ohio Organization.  For his dedication to police work dogs he was honored as Master Trainer of the year in 2008, Police Officer of the year in 2014, both by NAPWDA; and in 2021 he was given a lifetime achievement award by the organization.

In his spare time, Gene enjoyed restoring antique furniture along with carpentry and construction projects including restoring an 1848 farmhouse in Perry Twp where he lived for 25 Years.

Per his request, there will be no callilng hours.  His family would like to thank Hopsice of the Western Reserve for his wonderful care.  Also, many thanks to his two very special friends, Darryl and Rex for countless hours of friendship and accompanying him to his many appointments.

To honor his memory, donations can be made to Hospice of the Western Reserve,17876 St. Clair Ave, Cleveland, Oh 44110-9915 or www.hospicewr.gov. Or to a local dog rescue of your choice in his name.

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