Oct. 30, 1921 – March 17, 2018
Gordon H. Tresch was a World War II veteran who was determined to become a combat navigator.
After he graduated from University of Buffalo in 1942 with a degree in business administration, he was drafted and served in the Army Air Corps from 1942 to 1946 in the Far Eastern Theater. He was 1st lieutenant; a Naval instructor, 1st Air Force, B-24s; and navigator 20th Air Force, B-29s.
The final mission that he would guide helped play an instrumental role in the conclusion of the war with Japan, which did not surrender immediately even after the world’s first two atomic bombs had been dropped. So he and his fellow crew members were sent out to bomb an oil refinery in Akita. It would turn out to be the longest combat flight on record, just short of 18 hours aloft.
Mr. Tresch died Saturday in McAuley Residence in Kenmore of natural causes. He was 96.
A Buffalo native, he graduated from East High School in 1938 as class valedictorian and was the recipient of a Jesse Ketchum Medal for academic achievement.
From 1954 until 1959, he worked as the treasurer and business manager for Don Allen Chevrolet in Buffalo. And from 1959 to 1969, he was president and owner of Don Allen Chevrolet in Niagara Falls. He also was an area manager for Genway Corporation from 1971 to 1975.
Mr. Tresch served as a Town of Tonawanda councilman from 1973 to 1975. The following year, he became the town’s clerk/registrar, serving until he retired in 1991. He was a member and past president of the Town Clerks Association of Erie County. He also was director and vice president of the Town of Tonawanda Employees Federal Credit Union.
A Town of Tonawanda Republican Committee member from 1972 to 1991, Mr. Tresch was a member of the Erie County Manpower Advisory Council from 1976 to 1991 and a member of the Rotary Club of Kenmore.
He was an active member of Kenmore Baptist Church, where he served as a moderator, deacon, trustee and choir member.
He was a member of the VFW Post #9216; and past commander and quartermaster of American Legion, M.J. Brounshidle Post 20. He also was a life member of the VFW Harry E. Crosby Post 2472 and a charter member of the Kenmore-Tonawanda Chamber of Commerce.
Mr. Tresch was the recipient of the Tom Man Award WHLD Radio and the American Business Women’s Association Boss of the Year Award.
He enjoyed golf, bowling, music and theater, and he traveled with his wife to Africa, Australia, South America and China, as well as taking trips to the Holy Land and Europe.
His wife of 58 years, the former Mary Lou Gleason predeceased him in 2006.
Mr. Tresch is survived by his son, Gordon D.; and daughter, Deborah Lou Pardi.
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at Kenmore Baptist Church, 10 Wardman Road.