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William J. Sadler, founded water bottling company; June 12, 1923 -- March 13, 2011

William J. Sadler of Hamburg, founder of the water bottling company Sadler's Wells, died March 13 in Buffalo General Hospital. He was 87.

Born in Lackawanna, Mr. Sadler grew up in Blasdell, the son of Assemblyman William Sadler, and was a graduate of Alfred University.

A decorated veteran of World War II, as an Army infantryman he took part in several assault landings in the Philippines and New Guinea. His numerous medals included the Distinguished Service Cross and two Purple Hearts.

After working at Arcade Farms dairy in Blasdell, he started Sadler's Wells, which created, produced and sold Coffee Break, one of the first non-dairy coffee creamers.

Sadler's Wells also was the first company to bottle and sell distilled water and spring water in grocery store chains in Western New York and parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio and Canada, under the Aqua Pure brand.

Mr. Sadler was a member of Western Star Lodge 1185, Free & Accepted Masons, and Ismailia Shrine, and enjoyed fundraising for children's charities. As a founding member of the all-harmonica band the Harmonicoots, he and his bandmates spread cheer in concerts at hospitals and nursing homes.

In retirement, he maintained a winter home in Cudjoe Key, Fla., where he wrote, produced and directed an annual variety show, in which he was master of ceremonies. He also played for several years in another harmonica band there.

He is the father of film, television and Broadway stage actor William Sadler.

Also surviving are his wife, the former Phyllis Alfano; his first wife, the former Jane Colley; two other sons, Gary and Thomas; a daughter, Cynthia Lenhart; and two stepsons, Christopher and Lee Amico.

A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday in Loomis, Offers & Loomis Funeral Home, 207 Main St., Hamburg.


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