Floyd D. Betters

Floyd Douglas Betters, “Buck” passed away Friday, Feb. 14, 2014.

He was born on Sept. 7, 1919 in Mineville to Leila Mae Christian Betters and William L. Betters. At the age of 4, his family moved to Oakfield, and Buck 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, Buck was recruited by Mr. 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 Buck 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, Buck returned to Oakfield and became a VP of Haxton’s. In 1950, Buck 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 MacDonalds. With his son Bill, they were the largest exporters of Mexican strawberries under the Land O’Sun Packing label. After establishing Betters Food Sales, Buck then extended his brand by starting World Wide Foods in Warden, Washington 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.

Through a separate venture, Marbuck Stables, Buck and his wife owned harness racing horses. He also had 50 percent ownership of two horse breeding operations for standard bred horses – Adios Day Syndicate and John A. Hanover Syndicate. After a very successful business career, Mr. Betters decided to retire in 2009 after his 90th birthday.

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, Floyd 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, was 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.

Floyd has always insisted that he “was the luckiest man in the world” to have been able to live his chosen life and support his family. He loved to travel, drive his Lincoln to his home on Upper Saranac Lake, take long boat rides, and was the ultimate tinkerer -?collecting and refinishing antiques and tackling building and repair projects of all sizes.

Floyd D. Betters is survived by his son Paul D. (Penny) Betters of Hendersonville, N.C.; daughter Bonita L. (Gary Reed) Betters-Reed of Wilmot, N.H.; daughter-in law Elaine Betters of Oakfield; brother Ralph (sister-in-law late Gloria Betters) Betters of San Diego, Calif.; sister Beverly (brother-in-law late Laverne Fisher) Fisher of Batavia; 12 grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren. His wife Margaret King Betters and sons William and Marvin predeceased him. Floyd was the brother and brother in law of the late Marshall (wife Agnes of Oakfield) Betters, Gordon (wife Betty of Rochester) Betters and Robert (wife Dorothy of Batavia) Betters. He was additionally blessed by the love of many nephews and nieces, extended family members, and dear friends.

Calling hours will be held from 5 to 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 Street, Batavia.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Asperger’s Association of New England, 51 Water Street, Suite 206, Watertown, MA 02472. AANE’s donation can be reached online at www.aane.org/make_difference/donate or the benefactor of your choice.

A family reception will also be held at Upper Saranac Lake, Buck’s seasonal home of 50 years, at a later date.

Please leave a condolence, share a story or light a candle at www.burdettandsanford.com.