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Richard Eugene Wacht


Born September 20, 1944 in Canton, CT, Richard left this physical realm on Sept. 27, 2023 at age 79. Born, raised, and having lived most of his life in Canton, CT on the Old Canton Road property, Richard had recently relocated to New Hartford, CT.

A Connecticut Yankee with a cantankerous personality, Richard was best known as the cowboy boot & blue jean wearing auctioneer at the Canton Barn auction gallery for over 4 decades. He grew up in the family antiques auction business tumbling furniture and driving the farm truck in his early teens.

A Vietnam veteran, Richard was drafted in 1965, just less than 30 days before the draft wouldn’t have affected him. He did his tour of duty under General Barrows and was only too happy to surrender his guns when he returned home with his Honorable Discharge in1967.

After serving his country in the army, he returned to his Canton home where he had been born, converting the 1880’s cow barn into an auction gallery. He followed his father, John G. Wacht, into the auction business taking over for him in the late 1970’s. Folks traveled from all over the country to attend the Canton Barn auctions with its stellar reputation and home-made pies. Richard’s knowledge on antiques was sought after by many. He mentored many an antiques dealer, shared his knowledge with auction attendees, and was an expert witness for the state of Connecticut regarding antiques. Along with finding hidden gambling rooms in houses and auctioning off a General’s Civil War sword, Richard assisted his father in the auctioning of Samuel Clemen’s out-house. He was filled with “bits of useless information” and was always in his element when retelling the stories of an auctioneer’s unusual experiences. Richard retired from the auction business in the summer of 2019 after 40+ years.

Richard’s younger days were filled with travelling, racing “outlaw” cars, and drinking Johnny Walker Black. Even with the demanding schedule of holding weekly auctions, he had still managed to travel the world where friends were made, good meals were enjoyed, and the promise of tomorrow danced on the wind. And, he could “cut a rug” with the best as evidenced not too long ago at his niece, Robyn’s, wedding.

Richard always had a deep love for cats. Tales of Pumpkin, Brownie, and Marmalade and Tiger delighted and amused auction attendees and fellow pet lovers with Tiger being his constant companion for the last thirteen years.

Beside his beloved cat, Tiger, Richard leaves behind his dear friend & business partner, Susan Goralski; five nieces: Jocelyn Canterbury-Hall, Robyn Meo-Henry, Morgan Tufarolo, BreeAnna Melechinsky and Kimberly Melechinsky, and two nephews: Timothy Melechinsky and Colin Britton. Richard is predeceased by his parents: John and Anne Napey Wacht and a sister, Joanne Wacht Delphino.

There will be no calling hours and no funeral services. In Richard’s closing words at the end of each and every auction, “Thank you for coming. Drive safely. Goodnight.”

A celebratory gathering will take place at a future date for friends and colleagues to reminisce. Messages may be sent to the following email address: CantonBarn@gmail.com or mailed to Susan Goralski at P.O.Box 1019, New Hartford, CT 06057. Memorial donations may be made to the Smilow Cancer Center in Torrington, CT.

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