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Deputy who ran sheriff's sales aided homeowners

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James Knox | Tribune-Review
Sergeant Richard Fersch from the Allegheny County Sheriff's Office runs the Sheriff's sale in the Gold Room at the Allegheny County Courthouse downtown Monday May 2, 2011.

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By Kate Wilcox and Debra Erdley
Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

Sgt. Richard Fersch, a longtime Allegheny County sheriff's deputy who oversaw sheriff's sales, is remembered as a popular and dedicated worker.

Richard F. Fersch of Oakland died on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013. He collapsed from an apparent heart attack on a bus on his way to work. He was 64.

A sheriff's deputy for 41 years, Sgt. Fersch had been in charge of sheriff's sales since 2004.

While his job title put him charge of the sales, Sheriff William Mullen said Sgt. Fersch took it upon himself to help people save their homes from sheriff's sale.

“The perfect example was four years ago. There was a woman who had become a little senile and was losing her home in an affluent sector of Allegheny County. Her son was a doctor in San Francisco, and he (Sgt. Fersch) tracked down her son, contacted him, and she was able to stay in her home. He's done that multiple times,” Mullen said.

“And he was known to help young lawyers who filed writs wrong. He'd help them get it right rather than make them refile,” Mullen added.

The sheriff said Sgt. Fersch always arrived at the office around 5:30 a.m., even though his shift didn't start until 7 a.m. But he never put in for overtime.

“He'd have the paperwork ready and be out in front of things. He was very knowledgeable. He's been conducting sheriff's sales since 2004 and has not missed one or had one overturned,” Mullen said.

Mullen said his co-workers are mourning the popular sergeant.

“He was a decent guy and a great public servant. He certainly was a cornerstone of this office and a go-to guy for a lot of people,” Mullen said.

Sgt. Fersch helped to mentor new colleagues, the sheriff said.

“He had a sense of humor and ... he was always trying to help people,” he said.

Mullen said Sgt. Fersch loved his family and always talked about his wife and children.

“He did an excellent job of raising his family,” he said. “That was his main source of pride.”

Sgt. Fersch is survived by his wife of 43 years, Valerie; children Dawn Burns, Brenda Renner, Richard J. Fersch and Jill Brose; and four grandchildren.

Visitation will be held from noon to 8 p.m. Friday in Slater II Funderal Service, 1650 Greentree Road, Scott Township. Mass of Christian Burial will be 9:30 a.m. Saturday in St. Regis Church, 3235 Parkview Ave., Oakland. Interment will be in Queen of Heaven Cemetery.

Kate Wilcox and Debra Erdley are staff writers for Trib Total Media.

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