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STEDEM, Daniel E.

STEDEM - Daniel E. Age 89, longtime Buffalo resident and founder of Dan Stedem Ford in Orchard Park, NY, passed peacefully on July 17, 2016 in Florida. He was a larger-than-life personality known to many for his candor and one-of-a-kind laugh. Whether you met him on the sales floor of his namesake car dealership, Dan Stedem Ford, or over a muddled Jack Daniels Old Fashioned anywhere in the world, he was a character you would not soon forget. He was accepting of everyone, believing that "people are people," and he was fair to a fault. Dan was born in Buffalo, NY on February 23, 1927 to Lilly Fern Jacobs Stedem and Dr. Daniel Edward Stedem. He grew up in Kenmore, NY, and upon graduation from Kenmore High, he entered the U.S. Navy. His received his basic training at Sampson Naval Training and was a Corpsman for the duration of WWII. After discharge, he attended Sampson College in Geneva, NY, while enlisted in the Army National Guard. In 1948, he returned to Kenmore and enrolled at Canisius College, while also working full time at Dunlop Tires. He married Phyllis Ann Nonenmacher in September 1948 and the two started a family in 1950, but not before Dan was called upon for the Korean War, where he served as an Army Gunnery Sergeant at Fort Stewart in Georgia. At discharge, he returned to Kenmore, finished his studies at Canisius College, and began his automotive career at Kenmore Motors in 1951. He started as a salesman and was promoted quickly to Sales Manager, then General Manager, at the same time earning the "Ford Top Hatter" ranking as one of Ford Motor Company's Top 50 Salesmen in the country. In March 1957, he and Phyllis opened Dan Stedem Ford in Orchard Park, NY, moving their family to South Meadow Dr. in the village, where all five of their children were raised. While in Orchard Park, he was active in the Chamber, and was a co-founder of the original Orchard Park Quaker Days. In addition, he served as a Director of the NYS Auto Dealers Association and Chairman of the Buffalo Ford Dealers Advertising Association. His dealership was a pillar of the community and routinely received Ford Motor Company's highest honor, "The Distinguished Achievement Award." In his spare time, he and Phyllis enjoyed golfing at East Aurora Country Club, and spent time at their Florida home in Atlantis, where he was a founding member of Atlantis Golf Club and served as the Club's President. Dan relocated to Florida in 1982, serving as Vice President of Stedem Ford Inc., the family's second-generation dealership, and later as Vice President of Hyundai of Slidell in Slidell, LA. Dan's early "retirement" from running a dealership day to day gave him time to travel with his wife, golf, play cards and enjoy the company of his many friends in New York and Florida. In 2013, Dan moved to Lakeland, FL, where he lived until his death. To fully acknowledge 89 years of Dan's life stories and accomplishments would require volumes, not these few paragraphs. Dan will long be remembered for his empathy, his outspokenness, his smile and unique humor, his shared stories, sayings and philosophies, his "dapper attire", his love of life and especially the love of his life, Phyllis. It will be these memories that will remain and sustain all who knew and loved him. His wife, Phyllis, and his brother, William Stedem, preceded him in death.
He is survived by his sister, Joan "Pooch" Keller of Kenmore and his five children: Michael and Candace Stedem of New Orleans, LA, Timothy and Nancy Stedem of Valrico, FL, Patricia and Wilhelm Schmelzer of Boynton Beach, FL, Daniel and Julia Stedem of Northville, MI and Thomas and Rachelle Stedem of Lakeland, as well as 11 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. The family will hold private services at a future date. Donations may be sent to your local Hospice.

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