Obituary of John C. Speaks, III
John C. Speaks III
WWII Veteran and Long Time Food Broker
Mr. Speaks died September 1 of natural causes. He enlisted in the army as a private in 1944 and served 2 ½ years of active duty with overseas service during the occupation of Japan as a Japanese interpreter. After discharge from active duty he remained in the Army Reserve, retiring as a Major in 1986.
In 1947, Mr. Speaks graduated from Williams College and moved to Buffalo from his home in New York City. After working at Sears, Roebuck and selling Fuller brushes door to door, he joined the G. R. Bennett Company, Inc., a local food brokerage firm, in 1950 at an entry level position. After working in every phase of the business, he became sole owner in 1971 and served either as President or CEO until his retirement and sale of the company in 1992. During his time with the company he was active with the National Food Brokers Association and spoke often on the introduction of computers to the industry in many locations around the country. He was awarded two "Exceptionally Meritorious Awards" by the National Food Brokers Association for his work in this field.
Mr. Speaks was the son of Margaret Speaks, famed soprano noted for her performances on the
"Voice of Firestone" as well as in concerts around the world during the 1930's, 1940s and 1950's.
Married for 50 years to the former Natalie Park Sullivan, he remarried after her death to
Marchesa Joanna Dieli de Muro, herself the daughter of famed Italian opera tenor Bernardo de Muro.
He is survived by his two children, John (Keiko) Speaks IV and Leslie (James) Percival, as well as his granddaughter Lisa
and Great Granddaughter Brooke. He is also survived by his niece Colleen and her children, Ashleigh and Amanda.
There will be no formal services or remembrance ceremony as he requested. He wishes all his friends and family best wishes and goodbye.