The loving and beloved Richard “Dick” Dudzic, 80, of Fredonia, suddenly passed away on July 18, 2023, surrounded by family, 48 days shy of his 81st birthday. He lived a life full of great love, close family, and abundant friends.
The son of Polish and German Immigrants, he was born on Sept. 4, 1942, to Florence and Albin Dudzic of Dunkirk. He graduated from Cardinal Mindszenty High School in 1960 and studied Chemistry at SUNY Fredonia, where he earned his Masters Degree in 1965. He began his teaching career at Dunkirk High School in 1968 and spent the next 31 years teaching Chemistry and other sciences, as well as coaching cross country and track.
A consummate teacher, competitor, and coach, he had a love of learning and demanded excellence from those he taught. Whether at home or on the field, he valued hard work, consistency, perseverance, and the scientific method as a recipe for success. Outside of his family, his proudest accomplishment was coaching the Dunkirk High School Cross Country team to a State Championship in 1973.
Nothing meant more to Dick than his family and nothing made him prouder than his grandchildren, whom he supported in every endeavor from little league to cancer recovery. They called him “Papa,” “Pops,” and” Grandpa” and he never missed an opportunity to see them practice, play, or perform. He loved spending time with his grandchildren and had a special relationship with each one of them.
As a dad, he was a selfless man who rarely wanted anything for himself; almost everything he did was for the benefit and experience of his children. With his keen wit, insatiable thirst for knowledge, self-deprecating humor, and passion for all things family and sports, his banter had a way of easing the awkward moments or turning a room into raucous laughter.
Dick was an avid sports fan with a particular affinity for the former Cleveland Indians and the Cleveland Browns. He shared his love of baseball and knowledge of sports trivia with his children and grandchildren regularly and always had a game on the TV.
He will be missed terribly by Sally, his beloved wife of 58 years; sister Diane Valla (Gary), and nieces Denise Hilton and Renee Valla; cousin, “brother,” and best friend William Dudzic and family; daughter Sarah Rausch-Dudzic, wife Kinsley, and grandchildren William Sanders, SarahRose Bloom, and Kaitlyn Spiegel; son Daniel Dudzic and grandson Daniel Dudzic II; Mary Dudzic Beach (Nate), and grandchildren Ella, Lily, and Ethan Beach; son David Dudzic and family; granddaughter Alyssa Dudzic, and a large, loving extended family.
A memorial service will be held Friday morning at 10 o’clock in the McGraw-Kowal Funeral Home, 736 Central Ave., Dunkirk, New York.