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Oliver C. Hamister, retired health care executive, WWII veteran <br> Feb. 14, 1926 -- Feb. 15, 2009

Oliver C. Hamister, a retired health care executive and onetime automobile dealer, died Sunday in Bradenton, Fla., one day after his 83d birthday.

In 1980, Mr. Hamister joined his nephew, Mark E. Hamister, at National Health Care Affiliates, which became one of the nation's largest health care service providers. The uncle began as a partner and investor and in 1982 also was named senior vice president administration, a role he kept until his retirement in 1995. He remained a partner and director until the following year, when the company was sold.

"During his tenure, he brought a level of sophistication to central purchasing, insurance management and many other areas," Mark Hamister said.

Born in Kenmore, Oliver Hamister graduated from Kenmore High School and served in the Navy during World War II. He saw action throughout the Pacific Theater aboard the amphibious command ship USS Mount McKinley. He later earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Buffalo.

After two years in Arizona, Mr. Hamister returned to Western New York to help his brother-in-law operate a Chevrolet dealership in Cattaraugus. Upon moving to Union Road in West Seneca, the business became Hamister-Gillogly Chevrolet. He sold his interest in 1972 and four years later bought what became Hamister Pontiac in Jamestown. He operated that dealership until 1982.

Mr. Hamister was active in many organizations, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars, St. Mark's Episcopal Church and the Rotary Club of Buffalo, where he helped raise funds to build Rotary Rink at Key Center.

He was Richard Nixon's Western New York campaign manager during the 1960 presidential race. An avid runner, Mr. Hamister competed in road races well into his 70s, often winning his age group.

He was "a tremendously caring man who gave of his time and talent for the community he loved" and "instilled in our family the nobility of service and hard work," said his son Richard.

"Oliver was a great contributor to our business and personified honesty, trust and loyalty." Mark Hamister said.

Surviving, besides his son Richard, are his wife, Julia; another son, James; a daughter, Lisa Bonebrake; and a brother, George.

Services will be this week in Christ Episcopal Church, Bradenton. A memorial service is being planned for early May in St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Orchard Park.


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