Stanford Newman, 90, Luxury Cigar Maker
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Stanford J. Newman, who helped build his father’s J.C. Newman Cigar Company into an internationally recognized cigar maker, died Thursday in Tampa, Fla. He was 90.
Newman suffered a heart attack at his office Tuesday and died two days later, his son Eric Newman said Saturday.
Newman was just 18 when he began work at his father’s Cleveland-based cigar business.
He later took over the company, moving it to the Ybor City neighborhood in Tampa, where the family has become one of the largest makers and distributors of cigars, including those made by Carlos Fuente, his business partner in the Dominican Republic.
The company suffered a downturn after the start of the Cuban embargo, but flourished in the 1970s with its Cuesta-Rey 95 offering, which became a top-selling premium cigar in the U.S.
Newman handed over control of the company to his sons, Eric and Bobby, but kept the title of chairman and continued to work five days a week.
He spent the past few weeks advising his sons on how to run the business if ailing Fidel Castro dies and the Cuban embargo is lifted, Eric said.
“My father was a visionary. He was an inspiration. He was a gentlemen,” Eric Newman said. “Here he is 90-years-old, but he’s sharp as a tack. He’s always been thinking down the road.”