Columbus, OH --- Floyd Douglas “Buck” Betters, 94, one of the most prominent Standardbred owners in Western New York during the 1960s and 1970s, died Feb. 14, 2014.
Through a separate venture, Mr. Betters and his wife owned the Marbuck Stables. The Marbuck Stables was synonymous with invitational horses, including Bonmar ($154,302), Bon Bil ($94,467) and Bon Buck ($82,816).
He also had 50 percent ownership of two horse breeding operations for Standardbred horses -- Adios Day Syndicate and John A. Hanover Syndicate.
Mr. Betters was born Sept. 7, 1919, in Mineville to the late Leila Mae Christian Betters and William L. Betters. At the age of 4, his family moved to Oakfield, and he graduated from Oakfield-Alabama High School at the age of 16. Within a year he became the youngest manager in the history of the Western Union in Bloomfield, N.J.
After four years at Western Union, he was recruited by Sherwin Haxton to enter the emerging institutional and industrial food business at G. W. Haxton Co. back in Oakfield. He met his future wife, Margaret S. King, who was employed as a corporate secretary at G.W. Haxton.
They married in 1941 and that same year he was drafted into the U.S. Army and sent to Signal Corps Officer School. Assigned to the U.S. Army Air Corps, Lt. Betters served in Guam and was promoted to Captain just prior to the end of World War II.
Following the war, Mr. Betters returned to Oakfield and became a vice president of Haxton’s. In 1950 he was recalled to active duty during the Korean War and served as Commanding Officer of the Engineer Battalion, and on the staff of the 5th Army headquartered in Chicago, Ill.
He was once again released from duty in 1951 and resumed his post at Haxton’s until March 15, 1956, when he and Margaret started Betters Food Sales Inc., a food brokerage business in wholesale frozen and canned foods. Betters Food Sales Inc. opened five offices in the U.S., three branches in Europe, and later even added a branch in China.
Corporate headquarters moved from the front porch of their home on 13 Maple Ave., Oakfield, to Main Street, Oakfield. Betters Food clients included notable food processing firms such as Kraft Foods, Tropicana, Welch’s, Smuckers, Gallo, Birdseye, Sealtest, P.J. Taggares Co. and MacDonald’s.
With his son, Bill, they were the largest exporters of Mexican strawberries under the Land O’Sun Packing label. After establishing Betters Food Sales, Mr. Betters then extended his brand by starting World Wide Foods in Warden, Wash., to distribute frozen french fries under the “King of the West” label. Successful diversification efforts continued with the acquisition of Blodgett Foods in Perry; Scotch Game Call in Elba; Brown Fruit Farms in Lyndonville; and Valverde Laboratories and Eastman Development Corp in Oakfield.
Mr. Betters was an active member of the Presbyterian Church in Oakfield and was the co-founder of the Men’s Prayer Breakfast in Oakfield. In the 1970s, he served as a special envoy on behalf of the World Wide Presidential Prayer Breakfast in Vietnam and Cambodia, and met with heads of state throughout East Asia and Russia.
Among his numerous community and business leadership contributions, Mr. Betters also served as director and majority owner of Cablevision Co. in U.S. and Haiti, on the School of Food, Hotel and Travel Management Board for RIT, and was an active member of Ducks Unlimited, the American Legion and Gideon’s.
Mr. Betters is survived by his son, Paul D. (Penny); daughter, Bonita L. (Gary Reed) Betters-Reed; daughter-in law, Elaine; brother, Ralph (late Gloria); and sister, Beverly (late Laverne) Fisher; 12 grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Margaret; and sons, William and Marvin.
Calling hours are from 5-7 p.m. Friday (Feb. 21) at the Burdett & Sanford Funeral Home, 11 Maple Ave., Oakfield. Services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday (Feb. 22) at the First Presbyterian Church, 300 East Main St., Batavia.
Memorial contributions may be sent to the Asperger’s Association of New England, 51 Water St., Suite 206, Watertown, MA 02472 or the benefactor of your choice.