EXTON, Pa. — Richard Wolfington Sr., who washed buses as a teenager and later took the reins of his family’s school bus dealership for half a century, died on Thursday. He was 75.
Wolfington was the CEO of Wolfington Body Co., where he worked for more than 50 years. The Exton-based company sells school and commercial buses and provides contracted school transportation services.
Wolfington Body Co.’s history stretches back to 1876, when Alexander J. Wolfington began building horse-drawn carriages in a converted feed store in Philadelphia.
Richard Wolfington Sr. was “born and raised” in the school bus business, as he told SBF for a profile in 2011. “Since I was 6 years old, I was talking about school buses with my father at the dining room table,” he recalled.
Wolfington started washing buses at the dealership when he was in high school. During college, he drove a parts truck for the company, making visits to bus yards. After graduating from college, Wolfington served for two years in the Marine Corps. Then, in 1964, he started working full time for the family business.
Wolfington led the company through significant changes during his tenure. In 1987, more than half a century after Wolfington Body Co. became a bus distributor, the company ventured into school bus contracting, eventually running about 250 school buses to transport students in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
“It was a diversification that we decided to do,” Wolfington said in 2011. “The operating side of the company and the sales side go well together.”
About 18 years ago, Wolfington Body Co. took on the responsibility of being a school bus chassis dealer in addition to being a body dealer, which necessitated a major upgrade to the company’s shops. The company serves as a distributor for school bus manufacturers IC Bus and Collins.
The next generation of Wolfingtons is involved in running the company, with Richard Sr.’s son Richard Jr. and daughter Eganne Wolfington McGowan both serving in management positions.
For information on Wolfington’s memorial service, which will be held on Friday, go here.