On Thursday, December 17th, Richard went to be in the loving arms of his Heavenly Father. Born July 10th, 1932 to Frances and Corrine Gildenmeister, he attended Bellevue schools from where he graduated in 1951. He graduated from Capital University in 1955, and shortly after his graduation, he joined the Higbee company in their junior executive training program.
It was there he met Anne Udin, one of the nation's top book authorities and the head of Higbee’s book department in Cleveland. He became her assistant, and it was there, under her tutelage, that he fell in love with books. Being the marketing person he was, it was his idea to bring authors into the store for book signings. It was through that where he met and became friends of such authors as Jacqueline Suzann, Helga Sanberg, Barbra Walters, Truman Capote, along with numerous others.
On December 6 1976 he opened Richard Gildenmeister Bookstore on the Square at his beloved Shaker Square. The opening was an event of who's who of Cleveland, with dignitaries such as Sam Miller, founder of Forest Cities Enterprises; Helga Sanberg; Dr. George Crile, world renowned surgeon of the Cleveland Clinic; Mayor Ralph Perk; and longtime Channel Five news anchor and good friend Dorthy Fuldheim, who did the honors of cutting the ribbon. He had it for five years. However, due to the economic times he closed the store in 1981. He went on, however, to become a master bookseller for another 33 years
In 2004, Terry Troy wrote “Cleveland Classics: Great Stories from the North Coast." It is a book of sixty people who came to or grew up in Cleveland and had a profound effect on the city's culture. Richard was so proud to have his story be told along with the likes of Bob Feller, Sam Rutigliano, Brian Sipe, Austin Carr, Louis Stokes and others. Richard’s courage to live his life openly and honestly helped to pave the way for others. To say that Richard lived a full life is an understatement. He will be missed by all those who crossed his path, as he never met a stranger he didn't like!
He was preceded in passing by his mother Corrine Gildenmeister, his father Frances Gildenmeister, sister Jacqueline Meeks, brother Charles W. Gildenmeister, and nephew Mike Siesel. He is survived by hia brother Douglas (Suzanne) Gildenmeister, sister-in-law Jacqueline (Charles Gildenmeister), nephews and nieces Charles D. (Holly) Gildenmeister, Scott (Jill) Gildenmeister, Mark ( God son) Gildenmeister, Lisa (Todd) Davis, Steven(Jean) Siesel, Greg (Barb) Siesel, Pam Meeks, Scott (Kathy) Meeks, Nicole Mille, Jason (Brooke) Gildenmeister, and 26 great nephews and nieces.
Private Funeral services will be at Brown-Forward, Tuesday, at 10:30 AM December 29th with live streaming link for the public on the link below, Pastor Douglas Gildenmeister officiating. There will be calling hours at the Foos Funeral Home of Bellevue, OH from 2:00 -4:00PM, Tuesday, with private internment at York Cemetery.
Contributions may be made to the donor’s choice.