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Aug. 30, 1942 – Jan. 20, 2014

Richard J. Stepian, of Elma, retired vice president and partner in Bison Truck Center, died unexpectedly Monday in Mercy Hospital. He was 71.

Born in Lackawanna, he was a graduate of Bishop Ryan High School. He attended the University at Buffalo and earned an accounting degree from Bryant & Stratton Business Institute. He served stateside in the Air Force.

Mr. Stepian joined Bison Truck Center in Cheektowaga in 1968 as credit manager and became office manager two years later.

In 1974, he became the company’s secretary and treasurer, and was offered a minority share in the business. Originally a dealership for heavy-duty Ford trucks, it later acquired the Peterbilt franchise.

He became executive vice president in 1985 and, when company founder Paul N. Rosa retired in 1997, Mr. Stepian and Rosa’s son, Richard, bought the company. He retired when the company was sold in 2008.

He was a past president and director of the Professional and Businessmen’s Association, which named him a Man of the Year.

He also was a past president of the Western New York Heavy Duty Truck Dealers Association and a past president and director of the Thru Way Fish and Hunt Club.

He was a past member of the New York State Motor Truck Association and the Peterbilt Motors Controllers Advisory Board and a member of Father Schaus Council 4652, Knights of Columbus.

He was named Outstanding Polish American Business Person in 2006 by the General Pulaski Association.

His wife of 49 years, Carol M. Kujawa Stepien, died Aug. 24.

Survivors include a son, Gregory R.; a sister, Nina Jok; and a brother, Walter R.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Saturday in Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church, 7580 Clinton St., Elma.