Raymond R. Repka, 82, of Lancaster, a retired Lancaster businessman and developer, died Saturday (Oct. 19, 1996) in his home.
He opened a Firestone tire dealership on West Main Street in Lancaster in 1945. After he was joined by his brother Gene, Repka's Firestone and Lancaster Home and Auto expanded into general merchandise, selling auto supplies, hardware, sporting goods, furniture and appliances. The business was closed in 1967 to make way for urban renewal in downtown Lancaster.
Repka and his brother also owned Raygene Building and Supply Co., which built many of the homes in the Colonialwoods subdivision in Alden in the 1950s and 1960s. Raygene also built the Lord Lancaster Apartments on School Street and Columbia Central Medical Center.
In 1969, he provided the impetus for development of Carefree Living Estates in Cheektowaga, which was described in trade publications as the "finest mobile home park east of the Mississippi."
In retirement, he served as a consultant to several area builders. Recently he was an adviser on the remodeling of Columbia Central Medical Center. He restored a neglected turn-of-the-century rock garden he found as he was preparing land to build his Lancaster home. It was included in the Lancaster Historical Society Tour of Homes in 1982.
Repka grew up in Depew and taught night classes in Americanization for new immigrants after graduating from Depew High School in 1933. There he met Muriel J. Pattenden, who taught typing in the same program. They were married in 1936.
He sold automobiles in the late 1930s and was a life-insurance agent before becoming a salesman at Firestone's Buffalo store. He went on to open his own tire store on South Park Avenue before selling it and starting the tire dealership in Lancaster.
He was a member of the National Firestone Dealer Council and was honored for 20 years of service in 1979. He also was a member of the Advisory Board for M&T Bank. He held two patents, the most recent for a foundation drainage system that was issued earlier this year.
He and his wife traveled extensively in Europe and the British Isles. For 17 years, they maintained a winter residence in Jensen Beach, Fla.
In addition to his wife, survivors include a son, Kent of Lancaster; two brothers, Leonard of Hamburg and Gene of Lancaster; three grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 6 p.m. today in Faith United Methodist Church, 5505 Broadway, Lancaster. Entombment will be in St. Adalbert's Mausoleum, Lancaster.