Richard Wolfington Sr., 75, of Center City, president and chief executive officer of the Exton-based Wolfington Body Co., one of the largest school-bus dealers in the nation, died last week at his vacation home in the Poconos.
Mr. Wolfington, a longtime Center City resident, died in his sleep sometime from Christmas Eve into Christmas morning in Monroe County, said son Richard Jr.
"It was his favorite place on Earth," his son said of the getaway in Skytop.
The family business was founded by Mr. Wolfington's great-grandfather in 1876 as a manufacturer of horse-drawn carriages in Philadelphia.
Today the company employs more than 400 full-time and part-time employees at five locations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
In a 2011 interview, Mr. Wolfington said he was "born and raised" in the school-bus business.
"Since I was 6 years old, I was talking about school buses with my father at the dining room table," he said.
Mr. Wolfington said he washed buses when he was in high school and drove a parts truck for the business when he was in college.
He was born in Philadelphia and grew up with four brothers and two sisters in Drexel Hill. He graduated from Malvern Preparatory School in 1957 and earned a bachelor's degree four years later at Merrimack College in Massachusetts.
He served in the Marines during the Cuban missile crisis. "That was his almost-war story," his son said.
Mr. Wolfington loved to travel and was planning a train trip across Russia in September with his wife of 45 years, Kelly.
They met through mutual friends, and at the end of their first date, he commented that she had not said anything about his new green car.
"But your car is brown," she replied. Mr. Wolfington was color-blind, his son said, and the dealer had misled him into thinking the car was green.
Mr. Wolfington was a voracious reader of biographies and histories, and a devoted supporter of the arts in Philadelphia, his son said.
Besides his wife and son, he is survived by a daughter, Eganne Wolfington McGowan; another son, Adam; a grandson; and two sisters. He was preceded in death by an infant son and four brothers.
A Funeral Mass is set for 11 a.m. Friday, Jan. 2, at Old St. Mary's Church, 252 S. Fourth St. The family will receive guests from 8:30 to 10:45 a.m. Interment is private.
Donations may be made to Society of the Sacred Heart Retirement Fund, 4120 Forest Park Ave., St. Louis, Mo. 63108, or Greensboro Dreamers, 1571 Jackson Ridge Rd., Greensboro, Ga. 30642.