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Harry 'Bud' Hillman, WWII veteran, assembler; April 15, 1924 -- April 6, 2012

Harry "Bud" Hillman, who served as a gunner's mate aboard the aircraft carrier USS Shangri-La during the shelling of Tokyo in the last days of World War II, died Friday in Kenmore Mercy Hospital after a long illness. He was 87.

After the war, Mr. Hillman worked as an assembler for toolmaker Dynabrade until he retired at 82.

A native and lifelong resident of Buffalo, Mr. Hillman served in the Navy from 1943 until he was honorably discharged in 1946. He received his basic military training at the Sampson Naval Training Center in Seneca County and then was assigned to gunnery school in Norfolk, Va.

He served in the Mediterranean, North Africa and the North Atlantic aboard the USS Bronstein, a destroyer escort that his family said was given a presidential citation for sinking the most German submarines in one day in the North Atlantic.

Mr. Hillman next went to the Pacific and on to Tokyo. There, he served as a gunner's mate third class aboard the Shangri-La, which sent airstrikes against military targets around Tokyo until Japan's capitulation was announced in August 1945.

His son, David, was killed by a suicide bomber Feb. 7, 2011, while he was working as a civilian contractor for the United States in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Surviving are his wife, Angeline Abate Hillman; a daughter, Diane Strawbrich; and a sister, Alice Cora.

A Mass of Christian Burial was offered Tuesday in St. Paul's Catholic Church, Kenmore.