Lauded industry pioneer Robert W. Van Buren, former vice chairman and CEO of Domco Tarkett (now Tarkett Inc.) died Friday, May 27, at his home in Marlboro, N.Y. Van Buren was celebrated for his manufacturing expertise, playing a key role in such developments as sheet vinyl manufacturing technology and the introduction of the first urethane-coated tile.

Van Buren began his flooring career in the late 1940s with Mastic Tile, and stayed on with the company to become plant supervisor in 1956. He moved on to a similar capacity in GAF's Flooring Division. After helping supervise the construction of manufacturing facilities in Germany and Japan for the company, he was named vp of manufacturing.

He brought his comprehensive knowledge of the industry to Amtico and served as president for seven years, before leading Azrock Industries as general manager and COO. He spent the twilight years of his career at Domco (and later Domco Tarkett) from 1989-2000 as vice chairman and CEO. Under his watch, the company acquired Tarkett, Azrock and Nafco, making it one of the giants of the industry. For his lifetime of dedicated service to the industry, the WFCA inducted Van Buren into its Hall of Fame in 2000.

Van Buren is survived by his wife of 48 years, Elaine Spagnola Van Buren; his daughter Toni-Marie Van Buren and husband Steven Saldana; his son Robert and wife Marianne Van Buren; his daughter Karen Van Buren and husband Joe Jared; and his daughter Kathleen and husband David Kelleher. In addition he leaves six grandchildren.

Services for Mr. Van Buren are as follows:

Visitation on Tuesday, May 31, from 5 to 8 p.m. at Di Donato Funeral Home, 1290 Route 9W, Marlboro, NY 12542.

Funeral Mass on Wednesday, June 1, at 10:30 a.m. at St. Mary's Church, Route 9W, Marlboro, NY

There will be a memorial service in San Antonio, TX the first week of June, to be announced.

In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy may be made to St. Luke's Hospital in Newburg, NY or the charity of your choice.