ONEIDA - John Michael MacDougall, 73, of Foxwood Terrace, Oneida, entered into eternal life on Saturday, June 21, 2014, surrounded by his loving family at the Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio.
John was born on Jan. 26, 1941, in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of John and Margaret Burns MacDougall. A graduate of the Class of 1959 from St. Edwards High School in Lakewood, Ohio, he went on to study business at John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio. John transferred to the Maryknoll Seminary in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, where he completed his bachelor's degree and began his graduate work in theology and philosophy.
After leaving the seminary, John worked as a parole officer in Cleveland, Ohio, but the turning point of his career came when he was hired by Bruthers Company, a marketing and consulting firm that specialized in dairies and drug stores. One of John's clients was Mercers Quik Stop, a ten store chain headquartered in Boonville. John liked the company and Central New York so much that he became general manager in 1971, and then part owner.
On Dec. 28, 1979, he married the love of his life, Elaine Ann Maurer, in Rome, N.Y. Throughout their blessed union of 34 years, they built a loving family, a growing business, and enjoyed many different adventures especially to Islamorada, Florida, where he could be found out on the ocean with a fishing pole in his hand. He was often seen riding his motorcycle around central New York and would stop in and visit his stores on many occasions. John also played many rounds of golf at several of the area golf courses.
In 1980, John was offered the job as president and part owner of a brand new convenience store company being created by Dick and Don Clark, owners of Clark's Petroleum Services in Canastota. John had a vision of what the perfect store would be and had to come up with a name. He had a core philosophy of being nice as a person and he wanted the word in the name of the company. John came up with the Nice 'N' Easy Grocery Shoppes name and the first store opened on April 1, 1980, in Franklin Springs.
Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes was growing very rapidly and John realized he wanted to help local fuel companies and single store owners have an opportunity to be a part of the rapid growth. He created a franchise division, allowing participation in a retail program that gave an identity and John's expertise. Currently, there are 80 Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes located throughout the state.
In 1985, John was one of the founders of the New York Association of Convenience Stores. He later served as chairman and was named to the organization's Hall of Fame. He was also a member of the National Association of Convenience Stores and served on the Board of Directors from 1996 to 2001. John was chairman of the National Advisory Group in 1990.
Because of his willingness to share and his openness to new ideas and sharing of those ideas, John was often quoted or had a story about himself and the company in the magazines of the trade association. The trade press has awarded him many accolades over the years that include: Convenience Store News Hall of Fame in 2003, Griffith Business Journal Food Industry Hall of Fame in 2007, CSP Outlook Community Involvement Award in 2007, Convenience Store Decisions Chain of the Year in 2009, FARE Leader in Retail Food Service Award in 2012, Convenience Store News Best New Foodservice Program of the Year in 2013 and CSP Retail Leader of the Year in 2013.
John's dedication to the central New York community allowed his company to support many charitable groups and events. He had a special place in his heart for helping others and making central New York a better place to live. The company has helped schools, local fire departments, National Kidney Foundation, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the Ronald McDonald House, the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society and many, many other organizations. John loved to help the youth of our area and was proud to be the supporter of News Channel 9 "Athlete of the Week."
John's willingness to serve was evidenced by his membership on many local board of directors which included American Heart Association Greater Utica Advisory Board of Directors, The House of the Good Shepherd in Utica. the Oneida Healthcare, The Tri-Valley Family YMCA and NBT Bank.
John is survived by his loving family: his wife Elaine; his four children: Deborah Ostrander of Clinton, Jennifer (Gene) Park of Potomac, Maryland, Michael MacDougall (Laura Love) of New Hartford and Sherry Snyder of Vernon; his five adored grandchildren: Jeffery Ostrander, Sabrina Snyder, Rachel Park, Daniel MacDougall and Seth MacDougall. He was a dear brother to his three sisters: Kathleen O'Toole of Rocky River, Ohio, Margaret (David) Winchester of Key Largo, Florida and Mary (Nathan) Conover of Bay Village, Ohio; and his nieces and nephews.
A memorial Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Friday, July 25 at Immaculate Conception Church, 400 Salt Springs St., Fayetteville, where the Rev. Christopher J. Ballard will officiate. There will be no calling hours.
In his memory, Memorial Contributions may be made to Our Lady of Victory Homes of Charity, 780 Ridge Road, Lackawanna, NY 14218, www.homesofcharity.org or The House of the Good Shepherd, 1550 Champlain Ave, Utica, NY 13502 www.hgs-utica.com or the Muscular Dystrophy Association, 6315 Fly Road No. 102, East Syracuse, NY 13057 www.mda.org, or your local fire department.
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the Ironside Funeral Home, Inc., 342 Main St., Oneida, NY 13421. You may send cards and notes of sympathy to the funeral home or an electronic message of sympathy to John's family at www.ironsidefuneralhome.com.