Cover photo for Richard Crist's Obituary
Richard Crist Profile Photo

Richard Crist

b. July 22, 2017

Crist, Richard A.

ALBANY – Richard A. Crist, 80, died on July 22, 2017, at Albany Medical Center Hospital following recent surgery.

He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Janet Wasserbach Crist, his children, Richard, Craig, Gary (Suzanne Metzger), Heidi Silvestri (Guy) and Ryan (Aubrey Boles), and grandchildren, Richard, Matthew, Tyler, Trevor, Cameron, Cuyler and Dennin, his brothers Robert, John and Donald, and sister Margaret, and a number of nieces and nephews.

Dick was born October 10, 1936 in Castleton, and was the son of Robert and Margaret (Dennin) Crist. He was a graduate of the class of 1955 at Schodack Central High School, his graduation delayed a year after a serious bout with polio. He played baseball and basketball for the Wildcats, was one of the Crist “twins”, and was part of a family that was well-known in the small community.

Following graduation and a stint at the University of Kansas, he worked in construction, joining the Operating Engineers, and eventually enlisting and serving with the U.S. Army. He received basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey and was posted at Fort Knox, Kentucky as a tank driver in the early 1960s. In construction, he had the challenging task of driving large truck-cranes, often for bridge or major building projects in the region.

In 1965, he joined the New York State Police, starting a career where he was decorated on multiple occasions for heroism and outstanding service. He served as a member of the State Police Governor’s Detail under Governors Rockefeller, Wilson, Carey and Cuomo. In March 1974, he saved the lives of two women residing across the street from the Governor’s Mansion in Albany by extracting them from a burning building, earning a letter of commendation from Governor Wilson. He also was recognized by the State Police for his role in apprehending escaped individuals during the 1960s.

He later earned promotion to the State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation and was investigator on a number of major cases in the 1980s and 1990s, helping secure convictions against a number of hardened and dangerous criminals. His work and commitment to protecting the public was respected by his State Police colleagues, prosecutors and those in law enforcement. He retired from the State Police in 1996.

Near the start of his career with the State Police, he met and married Janet Wasserbach of Albany. They started a family first in Castleton, and in 1974, moved to what is still the family home in East Greenbush, raising four sons and a daughter. He instilled in his children a respect for hard work, competition and achievement, and was very proud of their professional accomplishments. He was particularly proud of completing his bachelor’s degree from the State University at Albany while working full-time and raising a growing family.

He was an avid biker and hiker, fan of the New York Yankees, longtime member of the Rensselaer Elks, the Melvin Roads American Legion, and parishioner at Holy Spirit Church. He enjoyed reading history and biographies, along with current events and politics, classic movies and art. He could always be counted on for a story, joke or recounting tales about his days on “The Job”. Dick was also proud of winning a marksmanship contest at a gathering of retired law enforcement in Florida.

Relatives and friends are invited to celebrate Dick’s life at a funeral service on Thursday at 11 a.m. at Holy Spirit Church, 667 Columbia Turnpike in East Greenbush. Calling hours are at the Ray Funeral Service, 59 Seaman Avenue, Castleton, on Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to CONSERNS-U, 50 Herrick Street, Rensselaer, NY 12144.

Ray Funeral Service, Inc.
59 Seaman Ave.
Castleton, NY 12033

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