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James A. Moynihan, an engineer, decorated war veteran and aviation enthusiast who helped found the Niagara Aerospace Museum in the Town of Wheatfield, died Thursday (Oct. 16, 1997) in Lockport Memorial Hospital after a brief illness. He was 74.

Moynihan, of Lockport, was known throughout the nation and Canada for his contributions to aviation. He was the founder and president of EPECO Industrial. He designed and manufactured sophisticated pumping equipment for many major corporations in Western New York and also installed fire pumps in many hospitals and other institutions. He also was and a consultant on the issue to area law firms. He retired in 1992.

He was instrumental in obtaining a state charter for the Town of Wheatfield museum in September. Recently, he purchased plans to build a 1929 Pietenpol aircraft for the museum. he also researched and constructed to scale a model 1896 French glider, which is on display in the museum.

Moynihan began to fly in 1939.

At the time of his death, he piloted a Cessna aircraft and also was a certified soaring pilot.

He was a member of the board of the Aero Club of Buffalo and was scheduled to be installed as the club's president in January. He also was a member of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, International Miniature Aircraft Association, Air Force Association, Academy of Model Aeronautics, Silver Wings Fraternity, International Soaring Association, Clarence Sailplane Society, Society of Antique Modelers, Soaring Society of America and North Buffalo Suburban Airport.

Moynihan coordinated the Young Eagles Program for the Experimental Aircraft Association in this area. The goal of the program is to expose a million youngsters to the experience of flying by the year 2000.

Moynihan, a licensed ham radio operator, also built and flew model airplanes and received awards for his workmanship.

As a young man, Moynihan participated as a crew chief for Unlimited Hydroplanes as a boat racer. His last race was at Mission Bay, Calif., in 1967.

A graduate of South Park High School, he obtained an engineering degree in 1949 from the University of Buffalo. He obtained his state professional engineering license in 1955.

From 1940 to 1942, Moynihan worked for Bell Aircraft.

He joined the Army in 1942 and served in the Infantry before joining the 8th Air Force 7th Photo Group as the pilot of a P-51. For his World War II combat service, Moynihan received the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.

A former Williamsville resident, Moynihan served as president of the Williamsville Lions Club and was president of Royal Gardens Homeowners Association in Lockport.

He also served as president of the University of Buffalo Engineering Association and was a member of the State Society of Professional Engineers, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Order of the Crois de Guerre, Lockport Lion's Club, Knights of Columbus, State Senate Advisory Committee for Economic Development and the American Legion. He also was a Boy Scout master and troop leader.

He and his wife, the former Mary Frank of Lockport were married for 26 years.

Survivors also include a son, James of Chicago; two sisters, Patricia Turner and Kathleen Parker both of Buffalo; and two grandsons.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Monday in St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 168 Chestnut St., Lockport. Prayers will be said at 9 in Amigone Funeral Home, 5200 Sheridan Drive, Amherst. Burial will be White Chapel Memorial Park, Amherst.[crlln]

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