Richard “Rich” Churilla, 82, of Wheeling, passed away on Tuesday, July 27, 2021, at Liza’s Place.Rich was born February 3, 1939, in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania to Andrew and Lucille Kolenc Churilla. He graduated from Canon- McMillan High School in 1957 and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in 1959. Rich was a commercial artist for Pitt Studios and for Graphic Studios in Pittsburgh for 3 years before entering the Professional Golfers’ Association apprentice program in 1962. Rich was an assistant golf professional to Russ Sherba at the original Mt. Lebanon Country Club in Peters Township, Pennsylvania and at Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, Florida for two-time PGA Tour Major winner and renowned golf instructor Henry Picard. In 1967 Rich became the head golf professional at Wheeling Country Club, a position he held for 33 years until his retirement in 2000. On June 28, 1975, Rich shot a 10 under par 60 – with a bogey – for the course record at Wheeling Country Club, besting the previous record of 62 shot by several notable professionals including Sam Snead. Rich’s record stood for 39 years. Rich was a Lifetime Member of the PGA and active in the PGA’s Tri-State Section. He was on the Section’s Board of Directors, served as Secretary and Chaired the Club Relations Committee. Rich is a member of the Tri-State Section’s Hall of Fame and was the 1978 Professional of the Year. He was awarded the Section’s Horton Smith Award for his contributions to professional education and the Section’s Bill Strausbaugh Award for mentoring fellow professionals in improving their employment situations. In 1986 Rich was awarded the PGA’s National Bill Strausbaugh Award in recognition for his work with fellow professionals. In 1989 Rich won the Tri-State Section’s Senior Trophy Award. More than all those accomplishments, Rich was a loving and devoted husband and father, a devout Catholic and a dear friend and mentor to many.
He is survived by Pauline “Polly” Marchewka his wife of 60 years, sons Scott (Jennifer) A. Churilla of St. Augustine, FL, Gregory (Christine) J. Churilla of Sylvania, OH and Jeffrey (Amy) P. Churilla of Columbia, MD, grand- children Brittney, Zachary, Maggie, Abby, Emily and Reese Churilla, brothers Martin (Michelle) Churilla of Wheeling, WV and Ronald (Karen) Churilla of Washington, PA, and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents and daughter Ann Churilla.
Rich was a member of St. Michael’s Catholic Church for more than 50 years. He was a past usher at the church.
Friends are invited to attend memorial visitation at St. Michael’s Catholic Church, 1221 National Road Wheeling, WV on Saturday, August 14, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. until time of memorial service at 11:00 a.m. with Father Harry Dunn officiating.
Arrangements by Kepner Funeral Home, 900 National Road, Wheeling WV 26003 (304) 232-2732.
Memorial contributions may be made to Liza’s Place, 308 Mt. St. Joseph Road, Wheeling, WV 26003 or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105-9959.