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Raymond C. Confer, 77, the president and chief financial officer of Confer Plastics of North Tonawanda, died Friday (Dec. 17, 1999) in DeGraff Memorial Hospital, North Tonawanda, after a long illness.

Confer founded three local plastics blow-molding firms in a career that saw him accumulate numerous patents and manufacture the first all-plastic swimming pool ladder.

He was born in Eagles Mere, Pa., but moved to Lockport as a boy and graduated from Lockport High School. He served in the Army in Europe during World War II.

In the early 1950s, Confer founded Airmold Plastics in the City of Tonawanda. He sold that business to W.R. Grace Co. about a decade later.

In 1965, Confer started another firm, Air-Lock Plastics, which he sold in 1972. It is still in business in the City of Tonawanda.

He founded Confer Plastics in 1973 and was still in charge of the business at Witmer and River roads in North Tonawanda at his death.

That was the company that first produced the plastic pool ladder. Confer's latest invention was a pool-entry system for use by the handicapped.

Confer also owned and operated a livestock and grain farm on Slayton Settlement Road, Royalton, from 1955 to 1985.

He was a member of Lodge 860, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, North Tonawanda.

Survivors include his wife of 15 years, the former Carol Buckley; a son, Douglas C. of Hartland; a daughter, Sharon Seward of Gasport; a stepson, David Di-Giuseppe of Ohio; two stepdaughters, Lisa DiGiuseppe of Lockport and Carolyn Stone of Niagara Falls; and two grandchildren.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday in Lange Funeral Home, 186 East Ave., Lockport. Burial will be in Acacia Park Cemetery.

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