The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

NAFA Founding Member John Lovato Passes Away (1928 – 2011)

September 08, 2011

John Lovato, recent.
John Lovato, recent.

LAKEWOOD, NJ – John Lovato, one of the 46 founding members of NAFA, a member of The Round Table Group (a precursor to NAFA), and a former fleet manager with chemical manufacturing company American Cyanamid, passed away on Sept. 5, 2011. He was 83.

Lovato had a long career in the fleet industry. After serving in the Navy, he attended Rider College. After graduating, he joined American Cyanamid, where he eventually worked his way up to the position of fleet manager. After working at American Cyanamid, he went to Greyhound Rent-A-Car, a now defunct leasing unit of Greyhound Corp. (American Cyanamid was a Greyhound Rent-A-Car client), and then to Allstate Vehicles. From there, he went to CIT Service Leasing as the Northeast regional sales executive in the mid-1970s, and then to Associates Leasing. Lovato was hired at Associates in 1980, on the same day as Don Kreft, who ultimately became president and CEO of LeasePlan USA (LP USA). After Kreft joined LP USA as head of sales and marketing, he hired Lovato to handle sales in the Northeast region for the company in 1986.

John Lovato, with Allstate Leasing, circa mid-1970s.
John Lovato, with Allstate Leasing, circa mid-1970s.

“John was a pioneer in the fleet industry,” said Kreft. “He was one of the founders of NAFA when he was a fleet manager for one of the greater New York area fleets. John worked for many of the fleet leasing companies, and we crossed paths at Associates Leasing in 1980. He was very successful there, and after I was recruited by LeasePlan in 1986, he was my first hire to be vice president of sales for the Northeast region. The industry will miss John, and I personally have lost a close friend.”

Lovato worked at LeasePlan USA until his retirement from the company in 1993, though he worked as a contract salesperson until 1995.

Lovato grew up in West New York, N.J., raised his children in Woodcliff Lake and Lincroft, and retired to Lakewood, N.J. in 2000. He met his wife Ruth while working at American Cyanamid. He had a passion for music, classical being his favorite, and he was an avid NY Giants and Yankees fan.

Surviving are his six children: Two daughters and sons-in-law - Neva and Randy Hall of Dallas, Texas and Diane and Ken Culbertson of Frisco, Texas; four sons and daughters-in-law: John and Kathy Lovato of Oakridge, N.C., Richard and Maureen Lovato of Lincroft, N.J., David and Amy Lovato of Westfield, N.J. and Stephen and Patty Lovato of Howell, N.J.; 16 grandchildren: Jacqueline, Kimberly, Danielle, Brittany, Michelle, Jennifer, John, Kenny, Ricky, John III, David Austin, Colleen, Stephen, Lauren, Lindsay and David Heath.

To post a tribute online, visit Memorial contributions can be made to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, 14 Pennsylvania Plaza, Suite 1400, N.Y., NY 10122 (online at in honor of Lovato’s wife, Ruth.

By Greg Basich and Mike Antich

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