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Frank S. Liberto, owned Tippy's Taco House Nov. 11, 1926 -- March 30, 2012

Frank S. Liberto, an Army veteran of World War II whose military wages later paid for his college education, died March 30 in a Florida hospice facility after a brief illness. He was 85.

Born in Brooklyn, Mr. Liberto was an infant when his family moved to Buffalo. He was a 1944 graduate of Grover Cleveland High School.

He was drafted into the military after graduation and served with the Army in Okinawa, Japan, earning his jump wings as a paratrooper with the 11th Airborne Division. At age 19, he achieved the rank of master sergeant as a noncommissioned officer.

Mr. Liberto had sent his monthly military paychecks home to his parents. His mother saved every one of them, and that money was used to pay for his tuition at the University of Buffalo's School of Engineering, from which he graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1950.

His career in engineering began immediately, first at Columbus McKinnon and then at Bell Aerospace, where he worked until 1971.

In 1971, he and his wife, the former Sally Giglia, opened Tippy's Taco House, a Mexican restaurant, in the Town of Tonawanda. They ran it for 10 years, with Mr. Liberto working simultaneously as a computer specialist at Erie Community College during the last five years.

He then worked approximately 10 years as a bank officer/computer project manager for Marine Midland Bank, retiring in 1990.

A former 20-year resident of East Aurora, Mr. Liberto retired to Point Chautauqua in 1990 and spent winters in Largo, Fla.

He was an active member of St. Mary of Lourdes Catholic Church in Mayville. His passions included hunting, fishing, bocce ball and the Buffalo Bills.

He also had a love of gardening, which began while he was living in Buffalo. In the 1960s, a photograph of a beanstalk that had grown to attic-height outside his Bedford Avenue home was featured in The Buffalo Evening News.

In addition to his wife of almost 61 years, survivors include two daughters, Linda Korona and Dianne Brown; two sons, Frank M. and Samuel; and a brother, Ralph.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 11 a.m. Saturday in St. Mary of Lourdes Church, 22 Chautauqua St., Mayville.