March 2, 1931 – Nov. 20, 2013
Fred Pepperday Jr., a retired clothing industry executive who later owned his own store, died Wednesday in his Clarence home. He was 82.
Born in Buffalo, Mr. Pepperday grew up on the East Side across from Offermann Stadium, where in his early teens he was a batboy for the Buffalo Bisons.
He graduated from Seneca Vocational High School and attended Canisius College. He was drafted into the Army and served during the Korean War.
At age 16, Mr. Pepperday began his career in the apparel industry with M. Wile & Co. on Goodell Street in Buffalo, where he started as a sweeper. He worked his way up to the position of vice president of manufacturing and planning.
He met “Tonight Show” host Johnny Carson several times while developing Carson’s line of suits, which he wore on the show.
While assigned to Baltimore in the 1960s and living near the Pimlico Race Course, Mr. Pepperday developed an interest in thoroughbred race horses. He purchased his own horses and experienced the joy of the winner’s circle with Colony of War and Powder, who placed first and second in the same race.
When he retired from M. Wile after 46 years, he opened Pepperday’s Men’s Clothiers on Webster Street in North Tonawanda. The store was a gathering place for local business people.
In the 1970s, he owned Pepper’s Pier, a restaurant on the Erie Canal in North Tonawanda.
Mr. Pepperday was a former chairman of the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County and an avid runner.
He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Joan; five daughters, Denise Zielski, Karen Grapes, Kim Pusch, Nanette Derry and Jennifer Braun; a son, Fredrick; a brother, Ronald; and a sister, Dolores Coval.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Monday in Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church, 4375 Harris Hill Road, Clarence.