FAYETTEVILLE, N.Y. – On a beautiful, mid-summer day here in central New York State, hundreds of family, friends and business associates gathered Friday at Immaculate Conception Church to celebrate the life of convenience store legend John Michael MacDougall.
The founder and president of Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes passed away June 21 at the Cleveland Clinic. MacDougall was 73.
Rev. Christopher Ballard celebrated MacDougall’s life, describing the gregarious convenience store pioneer as having a “commanding presence, yet [he] was gentle, loving and kind.”
In talking about the deceased’s life, Rev. Ballard pointed out that MacDougall was much more than a smart businessman. He went to seminary school and almost became a priest. He was the type of man who would pay for a woman’s groceries at the supermarket if she couldn’t pay and he “drew people into his family – employees and friends – and he was a faithful friend.”
He concluded that MacDougall was a man of faith, family and friends.
Near the end of the service, new Nice N Easy President Fran Duskiewicz, MacDougall’s longtime friend and the company's former executive vice president, shared a few remembrances.
“John was a philosopher and a theologian. People would see us talking in his office and think we were discussing business; instead we were talking about St. Thomas Aquinas and debating the nature of good and evil,” Duskiewicz recalled.
He also pointed out that Rev. Ballard forgot one “F" word in describing MacDougall. “Yes, John was a man of faith, family and friends, but … we can’t overlook the word ‘fun.’ John was the funniest guy I’ve ever known,” he said.
The upbeat service contained several emotional moments and concluded with a rousing rendition of “Amazing Grace” led by four of his grandchildren.
Founded in 1980, Canastota, N.Y.-based Nice N Easy operates 81 stores across central New York, known for their friendly customer service, high-quality fresh food and community involvement.