July 20, 1924 – Feb. 10, 2013
Robert J. Donough of Orchard Park, the former president of Liberty National Bank and later vice chairman and director of Norstar Bank, died Sunday in Fox Run, a retirement village in Orchard Park. He was 88.
Born in Lebanon, Pa., he was a graduate of Lebanon Valley College and earned his MBA from Harvard Business School.
Mr. Donough joined the Navy during World War II and served aboard the USS Intrepid, which participated in several campaigns in the Pacific Theater, including the Battle of Leyte Gulf, considered to be the largest Navy battle of the war. He later served in the Naval Reserve during the Korean War and achieved the rank of lieutenant.
Mr. Donough got his start in the banking business in 1947 at the State Bank of Albany, a future subsidiary of Norstar. In 1976, he moved to Buffalo, where he served as president and chief executive officer of Liberty National Bank. During his tenure, he oversaw the merger of Liberty with Security Trust Co. of Rochester. After the merger, he oversaw the construction of the Norstar Building, which opened in Fountain Plaza in downtown Buffalo in 1982. He also was an active member of the community.
“I really feel there’s an obligation for people to put back into the community part of what they get out of it,” Mr. Donough told The Buffalo News shortly before his retirement as chairman and director of Norstar in August 1988. In addition to giving back, he also acknowledged that he wanted to enhance the bank’s reputation and establish it as an active part of the local business community.
Mr. Donough served as chairman of the boards of both United Way and Buffalo General Hospital. He and his late wife of 68 years, the former Joyce Foote, were jointly honored with the United Way Volunteers of the Year Award in 1988. Joyce Donough died in November.
He also served as vice chairman and director of the Greater Buffalo Chamber of Commerce. In 1983, the Chamber honored him as Western New Yorker of the Year. During the 1980s, he headed a successful campaign to raise $2 million for the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.
After his retirement, Mr. Donough went on to work part time at the University at Buffalo School of Management. He also continued to volunteer, working with Hospice of Western New York, Orchard Park Presbyterian Church and Presbyterian Senior Care, among other organizations.
He is survived by three sons, Robert J. Jr., Michael L. and James P., and a daughter, Kathleen M. Anthony.
A memorial service will be at 1 p.m. Saturday in Orchard Park Presbyterian Church, 4369 S. Buffalo St.