Less than an hour into the visitation at Ralph Schugar Funeral Chapel, the line stretched from the side door around the front of the building, down the block and around the corner.
Those in line on Thursday talked quietly, pausing to sign their condolences in a book perched atop a stand along the sidewalk.
Dr. Richard Gottfried, 65, of Ross Township, was the tenth of the 11 Tree of Life shooting victims laid to be rest this week. Nearly a dozen officers were outside his visitation and funeral, directing traffic as the Shadyside chapel’s parking lot filled to the brim.
Gottfried, a local dentist, operated a private practice for more than 30 years in West View with his wife Margaret “Peg” Durachko, who is also a dentist, according to his obituary.
In West View, flowers lined the entrance ramp of their dental practice. A banner hung from the top of the building with the words “Stronger than hate.” Attached to the railing a cardboard sign read “One great guy. We’ll miss you!”
Gottfried also worked at the Squirrel Hill Health Center and volunteered at the Catholic Charities Free Health Care Center, per his obituary.
It was at the Squirrel Hill Health Center that he cared for the refugee families who came to Pittsburgh with the help of Jewish Family and Community Services of Pittsburgh, Jordan Golin, the organization’s president and CEO said in a news conference earlier this week.
And Gottfried planned to retire soon, the Washington Post reported.
He was a member of the New Light Congregation, which met at Tree of Life and a religious committee chairman, his obituary said. Active in the congregation and a past president, his obituary said: “Richard was the heartbeat of the congregation.”
And he was there on Saturday when a gunman arrived, killing 11 people, including Gottfried. He went to services with his sister Carol, WPXI reported. She survived.
He was a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English Literature and a Doctor of Dental Medicine degree. Per his obituary, Gottfried “would always enjoy a good cigar and a glass of wine in the evenings on his deck with Peg.”
The day after he was killed, Durachko told the Post-Gazette, “Do not let his death be in vain. Drive out evil from your own life and help another to drive it out of their life. The only way to combat evil is with love.”
Earlier in the day, a funeral for Bernice and Sylvan Simon was also at Ralph Schugar Funeral Chapel.
Seven other shooting victims — Joyce Fienberg, 75; Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz, 66; brothers Cecil, 59, and David Rosenthal, 54; Daniel Stein, 71; Melvin Wax, 87; and Irving Younger, 69 — have already been buried.
Rose Mallinger, 97, will be buried Friday.