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Gillman J. Laehy, Buffalo Sewer Authority manager Aug. 29, 1923 -- Jan. 2, 2012

Gillman J. Laehy, former general manager of the Buffalo Sewer Authority, died Jan. 2 from heart failure during his daily swim at the Maui Country Club, Spreckelsville, Maui, Hawaii. He was 88.

Born in Buffalo, he was a graduate of Kensington High School and served in the Army Air Corps during World War II. He earned a degree from the University of Detroit, studied at Canisius College and did graduate work at the University of Buffalo.

A licensed professional engineer, Mr. Laehy worked for several companies before becoming plant superintendent for ACF Industries in the 1950s and serving for five years as vice president of MacWirth Bros. Co. He then went into private practice as an industrial engineering consultant for four years before he was named general manager of the Buffalo Sewer Authority in 1970.

During his tenure, the department grew from a $20 million operation with 150 employees to one with twice the budget and 365 employees. He oversaw the construction of the Bird Island wastewater treatment plant, the largest facility of its kind in the nation when it was built. He retired in 1993.

He served on the boards of numerous civic and professional organizations. In retirement, he was an officer in the SCORE Association Buffalo Chapter, in which retired executives give advice to start-up businesses.

His wife of 62 years, the former Marie L. Mangus, died in 2010.

Surviving are four sons, Peter, Christopher, James and Timothy; and two daughters, Margaret Somerville and Kathleen McCaffrey.

A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday in the Buffalo Yacht Club, 1 Porter Ave.