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Clement “Clem” R. Arrison Jr.

March 3, 1930 – 
December 21, 2023

Arrison, Clement R. Jr “Clem” 12/21/2023. Beloved husband of Karen (Fick) Arrison. Father of Barbara (late Lawrence) Regan and Craig Arrison. Grandfather of Kelly (Patrick) Bouli, Emily Regan, Jim (Kaley) Regan, Will (Tara) Regan, Holly Arrison, Hayden Arrison and Hunter Arrison. Great grandfather of Sunny and Rudy Bouli and Theo and Monroe Regan. Brother of Ruth Ann (late Trim Bissell) Evan and the late John (Millie) Arrison and Constance (Dave) Whyard. Clem is also survived by The McKee Family and many loving family, friends and caregivers. The family would like to thank all those who supported Clem and helped find him comfort.  A private Celebration of Clem’s life was held at the convenience of the family. Memorials may be made to The Clement Arrison Memorial Fund at Wisdom Farm, 10795 Miland Rd., Clarence Center, NY 14032. A future Celebration of Clem’s life and a Concert for the Community will be held in Spring. Arrangements made by THE DIETRICH FUNERAL HOME. Please leave condolences at


Clement R. Arrison, 93, philanthropist, Mark IV Industries co-founder

Three rare violins that Clem Arrison owned will join in tribute to him in a free community concert Oct. 7 in Kleinhans Music Hall. Although he took violin lessons that his aunt underwrote when she lived with his family during the Depression, he never played the instruments – a 1735 Guarneri del Gesu that once belonged to Fritz Kreisler, a 1723 “ex Kiesewetter” Stradivarius and one made in 1717 in Venice by Francesco Gobetti. Instead, as a founding member of the Stradivari Society in Chicago, he matched them with young virtuosos, to whom they were loaned. They have been played in Grammy-winning recordings and three Oscar-winning films. The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra also will dedicate a concert to him May 11 with two of his favorite pieces, Sibelius’ Violin Concerto and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. A philanthropist and co-founder of a Buffalo Fortune 500 company, he died Dec. 21 in his home in Clarence. He was 93. As president of the BPO board of directors in the early 1980s, Mr. Arrison oversaw day-to-day operations during one of the orchestra’s deepest financial crises, balancing its budget for the first time in 15 years. At that time, he was president and chief operating officer of Mark IV Industries, which had grown rapidly by acquiring new subsidiaries. Financial World magazine named it a Top Growth Company in 1985, noting that it “specializes in rich niches too small for the big guys and too costly for the small fries.” Mr. Arrison and Mark IV’s chief executive officer Sal H. Alfiero had worked together since 1967 at Radatron Inc. in North Tonawanda, which produced transistorized ignition systems for the auto industry. They left to lead Glar-Ban Corp. in Cheektowaga, which made instrument and panel lighting for airplanes. It became the foundation for their future ventures. Within 18 months, they bought Radatron. After they arranged for Mark IV Homes of Scranton, Pa., to purchase Glar-Ban in 1976, it became Mark IV Industries. In the 1990s, Mark IV went into automated toll collecting, which became E-ZPass. When Mr. Arrison retired in 1996, the company was a $2 billion manufacturing firm with worldwide operations. He continued as a consultant and a member of the board of directors. After a British equity firm acquired Mark IV, he and Alfiero were among a group that bought back its highly profitable Protective Closures division in 2001. Though opposites in temperament – Alfiero, who died in 2022, was gregarious and outspoken, while Mr. Arrison was quiet and detail-oriented – they were complementary personalities and close friends. Alfiero introduced Mr. Arrison to Karen Fick, an interior designer, whom he married in 1990. Mrs. Arrison recalled Alfiero declaring at their wedding, “Between the two of us, we make one hell of a guy.” Clement R. Arrison was born in Williamsport, Pa., the oldest of four children, and grew up in Grand Rapids, Mich., where his father worked in sales. Colorblind and undiagnosed with dyslexia, he turned to building radios and other electronic devices in high school because he had difficulty reading and writing. “I did all the industrial things I could, and stayed away from language,” he told Buffalo News reporter Tom Buckham in 2006. He earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan and served in the Army as an engineer in White Sands, N.M. He came to work for Bell Aircraft Corp. in 1953, went with American Machine and Foundry, then  joined Radatron in 1961. In 2001, he and his wife moved into a 10,000-square-foot mansion on Lincoln Parkway built in the late 1920s and spent 11 years bringing it back to its original glory, the largest privately funded restoration project in the city. Preservation Buffalo Niagara honored the Arrisons with its Restoration Award in 2011, the same year the mansion was featured on a candlelight tour during the National Preservation Conference in Buffalo. Mr. Arrison was a Canisius College trustee, a member of dean’s advisory council at the University at Buffalo School of Engineering, and a board member of Independent Health, Gateway Youth and Family Services and the Western New York Public Broadcasting Association. To oversee philanthropic work, he and his wife formed the Arrison Family Foundation. It underwrote production of the WNED-TV documentaries “Demystifying Dyslexia” and “Kleinhans Music Hall, a Gift to the Community.” A master-level skier and sailor, he was active in the Buffalo Yacht Club for 47 years and braved the most difficult slopes in Crested Butte and Copper Mountain, Colo. Also an avid runner, he competed in 13 marathons, including the New York City Marathon at age 67. While recovering from injuries after a fall at a marina, he formed an unexpected bond with a horse where his wife boarded her horses. That led them in 2016 to establish Wisdom Farm in Clarence, which rescues horses that become therapy animals for veterans and four-legged listeners in the farm’s Children’s Reading Program. Survivors also include a daughter, Barbara Regan; a son, Craig; a sister, Ruth Ann Evan; seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.





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