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Michael J. Gruber, a construction manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who supervised several major waterfront projects in Western New York and Pennsylvania, died Tuesday (July 22, 1997) at Mitchell Campus of Hospice Buffalo, Cheektowaga, after a five-month battle with cancer.

Gruber, 64, was well known in the construction field and had been awarded the corps' 1992 Central Division "Hard Hat of The Year" award for his management of the corps' contractor quality control on all his projects.

Gruber, of Derby, also was involved in a number of efforts over the years to help people caught in the grip of natural disasters.

Born in Buffalo, Gruber attended Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary School and Bishop Fallon High School. He attended the Oblate Seminary at Newburgh for two years. During the Korean War, Gruber served with U.S. Army field artillery units.

For the past 35 years, Gruber was employed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Buffalo District. As a construction representative in this state and Pennsylvania, he was responsible for on-site projects such as the Cattaraugus Creek Small Boat Harbor, the rehabilitation of the Bird Island Pier, the Port Ontario Small Boat Harbor, the Sturgeon Point Small Boat Harbor and the Presque Isle, Pa., Breakwater Project. Recently, he participated in the construction of the Flagship Niagara Berthing Facility in Erie, Pa.

Gruber was a volunteer in emergency recovery operations for such disasters as the Blizzard of 1977, the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in the San Francisco area, Hurricane Andrew, the Great Midwestern Flood of 1993, Hurricane Marilyn and Hurricane Fran.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Friday in Holy Angels Catholic Church, 384 Porter Ave. Prayers will be said at 8:30 in Perna Funeral Home, 1306 Hertel Ave. Burial will be in Mount Calvary Cemetery, Cheektowaga.

Surviving are two brothers, James F. of Williamsville and Thomas J. of Farmingdale, and two sisters, Joan Knab of Buffalo and Mary Elizabeth Ralph of Derby.

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