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Michael N. Grasso, Fredonia State physics chair

Nov. 9, 1931 – June 30, 2015

Michael N. Grasso, department chairman of the physics at SUNY Fredonia, died Tuesday in Lyons after an extended illness. He was 83.

Mr. Grasso developed a cooperative engineering program at Fredonia, where he worked as a professor from 1959 to 1994. He was known for encouraging students in engineering and physics and staying in touch with them as their careers developed.

A Lackawanna native, he studied at the University at Buffalo. He settled in Fredonia with his late wife, the former June LaChance, and raised a family.

He was called “Pops” by his grandchildren, two of whom he helped raise.

He loved to cook, celebrate the holidays and make Christmas cookies from his mother’s recipes. No one left his home hungry.

Mr. Grasso won awards for the flower gardens he cultivated at his Birchwood Drive home. He was a member of the Italian-American Society and on the committee of the Fredonia Farm Festival.

Survivors include a sister, Joanna Swiercz; two brothers, Thomas and Lawrence; one daughter, Junemarie Gerstein; two sons, Michael and Richard; seven grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

A funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Friday in Lombardo Funeral Home, 3060 Abbott Road, Orchard Park.

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