NOCO Chairman Emeritus Newman Passes Away

Helped family coal delivery company become major supplier of petroleum products

Donald F. Newman, chairman emeritus of NOCO Energy Corp.

TONAWANDA, N.Y. -- Donald F. Newman, chairman emeritus of NOCO Energy Corp., died earlier this after a lengthy illness. He was 82.

Born in North Tonawanda, N.Y., he attended City of Tonawanda schools and was a graduate of 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.

After serving in the Army, in 1957, Newman joined R.B. Newman Fuel Corp. in Tonawanda, N.Y., founded as a coal delivery company 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. One of his sons, James, currently is president of the company. Another son, Michael, is executive vice president.

Together with his brother, Reginald II "Reg," who began in 1959, they 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 of what now are 40 NOCO gas stations in the area in 1964. They acquired a new terminal facility, expanded their product lines and bought the home heating oil division of Ashland Oil Co. in 1982.

Active in numerous civic, cultural and charitable organizations, Newman was 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 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. He headed the annual Great TV Auction on WNED-TV in 1988.

In 1992, he received the Sister Mary Mechtilde Memorial Award, Kenmore Mercy Hospital's highest philanthropic honor, after leading a multimillion-dollar development campaign to renovate and expand the hospital. He also was named a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International.

Newman is survived by his wife 58 years, Barbara (nee Lutz); sons Robert L., Thomas B. (Carol), James D. (Victoria) and Michael F. (Marcy); seven grandchildren; brother Reginald "Reg" (Carol); sister Kathy (Andy) Feld; and four nieces and a nephew.

Newman died on Dec. 11. The family held a celebration of his life on Dec. 20.

NOCO is based in Tonawanda, N.Y. It offers a full line of products and services including natural gas, electricity, propane, heating oil, HVAC sales and service, commercial fuels and industrial lubricants. The company also operates 37 NOCO Express convenience stores throughout the region.

CSP Daily News sends condolences to his family, his friends and his colleagues.

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