News of the death of a longtime Doylestown bar manager spread quickly in the tight-knit community last week.
Richard “Richie” Wylie, 60, who worked behind the bar at Finney’s Tavern on South Main Street, was killed in an early morning car crash June 17, at the intersection of Swamp and Saw Mill roads in Plumstead Township, according to police.
Wylie was traveling east on Pine Run Road, crossing Swamp Road, when the driver’s side corner of his Nissan Rouge was struck by a concrete mixer truck, said Plumstead Police Lt. Richard Frederick. Wylie was taken to Doylestown Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Wylie was alone in the vehicle, Frederick said.
A full investigation is underway and anyone with information about the accident is asked to call Corp. Jeffrey Moffett at 215-766-8741 x123.
For nearly four decades, Wylie, affectionately called “Big Richie,” could be seen working the bar and playing pool at the popular watering hole, where customers became family.
It was common to hear people say, “I met my wife, at Finney’s” or “Richie introduced me to my husband.”
Born and raised in the borough, Wylie was a Central Bucks West High School graduate and a town fixture. His life, say those closest to him, revolved around the bar. It was as if Finney’s and Richie were synonymous.
No matter the season, Richie wore flip-flops – his signature footwear. And, he had a real penchant for festive shirts and a friendly, flamboyant personality to go with them.
As much as he loved the bar, he also was passionate about helping others, always quietly and without fanfare.
“He never asked for a thank-you, he just gave,” said Tim Wylie, Rich’s brother. Tim owns Nat’s Pizza on West State Street, another popular borough institution.
“People come up to me and say, ‘your brother knew I didn’t have anything for Christmas and he dropped off an envelope with cash at my front door,’” Tim Wylie said. “He’d make you a sandwich if you came in and said you were hungry but didn’t have any money.”
Still, Tim explained, “a lot of people thought he was rough, but he wasn’t; he could be when needed, but he was a soft guy. I always thought he was misunderstood.”
Richie was an avid golfer, said his brother, and started a league with customers, his doctor and others. “He was very proud of that.” The team would travel to Jamaica every year to play. “That was his paradise,” said Tim, adding, some of his ashes will be spread there, as his brother had asked.
A memorial service will be held today, June 23, at 11 a.m. at Reed and Steinbach Funeral Home, 2335 Lower State Road, New Britain.