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NEW WATERFORD – Richard L. Best, 80, died Monday morning at his residence.

Mr. Best affectionately known as “Dick” was born Sept. 6, 1932, in Youngstown, a son of Peter and Irene Burkhart Ernst.

For two years Dick was raised by his grandparents, Ben and Della Burkhart. In 1937, he was adopted by his father, Harry W. Best.

A 1950 graduate of Wilson High School, Dick founded in 1967, the R. L. Best Company on Bev Road in Boardman and in 1985 the second location in Sanford, Fla.

In May of 1951, Dick became a collector of antique vehicles, including cars and trains, but mostly historical trucks. Dick and his wife, Evie, gave tours of their antique vehicles and would hold an annual open house at their residence. The last one was just this past Saturday.

Dick was a member of the Poland Lodge No. 766 F&AM and a 32nd degree Mason of the Valley of Youngstown Scottish Rite. He was a member of the Al Koran Shrine of Cleveland and the Youngstown Shrine Club. He was also a member of the Salem Golf Club, Saxon Club, former member of Youngstown Club, and Charter President of the Poland Optimist Club. Dick was a member of the Canfield Christian Church.

With his love of collecting antique vehicles, Dick was active in many organizations including the ATHS National Club, ATHS Northeast Ohio Club, ATHS Steel Valley Club, Austin Bantam Society, ATCA Historical Society, ATCA Greater Pittsburgh Chapter, TCA Club, the Old Time Trucks, Classic White Truck Group, Mahoning Valley Historical Society, AACA Antique Auto Club, Coolspring Power Museum, Canton Museum, the Packard Museum and a former member and past president of the Youngstown Model T Club.

Dick leaves his wife, the former Evie M. Wallace, whom he married Aug. 10, 1990; three sons, Ted A. (Laura) Best of Sanford, Mark R (Kimberly) Best of Greenford, and Randall L. Best of New Waterford; three stepdaughters, Jeanie (Tony) Salem of Columbiana, Deborah (Dennis) Dickson of Columbus, and Joan Quaranta of Indiana; two brothers, Ray (Liz) Best of Austintown and Carl Best of Tampa, Fla.; eight grandchildren, Jeff, Katie, Royce, Kelly, Karen, Cassandra, Tony Jr. and Candace; and his loving dog, Maxi.

Funeral services will be held on Thursday at 11 a.m. at the Cunningham-Becker Funeral Home in Poland.

Entombment will follow at the Poland Riverside Cemetery.

Friends will be received Wednesday from 4 to 7 p.m. and Thursday from 10 to 10:45 a.m. at the funeral home.

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Guestbook Entries

“Rest in peace Dick. It was a pleasure to know you and also work for you these past 16 years.”

 » Pete Pavlichich on September 11, 2012

“On behalf of my father, Terry Funk, Know that Dick was a loved and respected man. I know because my dad couldn't say enough good about him and his entire family. God bless you all in your time of loss. ”

 » Cindy on September 11, 2012

“On behalf of my father, Terry Funk, Know that Dick was a loved and respected man. I know because my dad couldn't say enough good about him and his entire family. God bless you all in your time of loss. ”

 » Cindy on September 11, 2012

“You will be missed. Rest in peace.”

 » Sarah Halle on September 11, 2012

“Rest in piece cousin. Our mutual love of old vehicles must be genetic.”

 » Cliff Ernst on September 11, 2012


“We were so blessed to have you in our lives Dad, thank you for all the great & useful advice and for the love you expressed to us. You will be forever missed and loved.Our children loved you & will miss you also.Thank you for caring for & loving our mother with your whole heart.Until we meet you in the heavens may God & his angels surround you with love.”

 » Debbie & Joanie on September 11, 2012

“To the family of Richard: This was such a gracious man and a real gentleman. He was a dear friend of my brother, the auctioneer, Tommy Prater. On one visit to Ohio Richard gave us a private tour of his beloved collection. I can only imagine what a conversation Tom and Richard are having right now. We feel blessed by knowing Richard. He is gone physcially but his spirit will always abide with us.We care. Vern& Joye Norman Gallatin TN”

 » Vern &; Joye Norman on September 12, 2012


“Thank You,for all you have done to make life easier for my sister the former Edith M. Cochran, Name changed to Evie M. Wallace. You were a caring and a great understanding man that took care of Her.Rest in Peace Dick Best. ”

 » Buddy Cochran on September 13, 2012

“Dick, May you rest in Peace. Thank you for you kindness to me and the Mahoning Valley Old Car Club.”

 » Bill Cochran on September 13, 2012

Brat Secretary to the BEST BOSS

“I'm so sorry I'm late, I only just heard of Dick's passing and I'm crushed. Over 30 years ago R.L. was my first Boss. He was a wonderful man to work for and I'll never forget his generosity. He was more like family when my own was falling apart. He was a good man and I'm sorry for your loss. XOX to Edie and my respects to Ted, Mark, Randall and their wives & families. ”

 » Lorrie on January 31, 2013

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