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TONAWANDA, N.Y. — NOCO Energy Corp. has lost one of its founders. Donald F. Newman, of Clarence, N.Y., died on Dec. 11. He was 82.
Newman began his journey in the energy business when he joined R.B. Newman Fuel Corp., a coal delivery company founded by his father in 1933. He was named president of the company in 1967 and, after serving as chairman of the board, became chairman emeritus in 1998, according to the Amigone Funeral Home. R.B. Newman Fuel Corp. was the predecessor to NOCO Energy Corp.
Today, Tonawanda-based NOCO operates 40 NOCO Express convenience stores throughout the region and offers a full line of energy products and services to residential and commercial customers. One of Newman's sons, James, is currently president of the company. Another son, Michael, is executive vice president.
Newman, together with his brother Reginald II "Reg," built NOCO into the largest independent supplier of petroleum products in Western New York and one of the largest family-owned companies in the region.
They opened the first NOCO gas stations in the area in 1964 and then acquired a terminal facility on River Road, expanded their product lines and bought the home heating oil division of Ashland Oil Co. in 1982.
Born in North Tonawanda, Newman attended City of Tonawanda schools and was a graduate of the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) in Pittsburgh, where he was a member of Army ROTC. He served for two years as an officer in the Army Ordnance Corps.
Newman was active in numerous civic, cultural and charitable organizations. He served as president of the Buffalo Club, the Country Club of Buffalo, Rotary Club of the Tonawandas, American Automobile Association Club of New York State and the AAA of Western New York.
He also served on the Western Region board of HSBC USA and was a trustee of Nichols School. He served on the boards of the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site Foundation, Greater Buffalo Chamber of Commerce, Western New York Broadcasting Association, Buffalo State College Foundation and the Hauptman Woodward Medical Research Institute.
Newman is survived by his wife of 58 years, Barbara (nee Lutz); his sons Robert L., Thomas B., James D. and Michael F.; seven grandchildren; his brother Reg; a sister Kathy Feld; and four nieces and a nephew.