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MAY 20, 1916 -- APRIL 8, 2005

Sanford "Sonny" LaJudice, who worked on spacecraft during a career with Bell Aerospace, died April 8 in Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Amherst. He was 88.

Born in Ebensburg, Pa., Mr. LaJudice moved to Buffalo and began working for Bell Aircraft in 1941, where he remained employed for the next 30 years.

During that time, he held the position of second shift supervisor, and was responsible for 125 workers and 17 supervisors.

Mr. LaJudice had such expertise as a welder that he was flown to California to work on the X-1 rocket plane, which broke the speed of sound for the first time in 1947. He also worked on Mercury and Gemini space capsules, the X-2 aircraft, the Lunar Landing Module, the Bell Rocket Belt and the Agena and Rascal rockets.

He also taught welding for the Kenmore-Tonawanda Adult Education program, and worked for the Tri-Metal Co. for 10 years before retiring.

He was married for 57 years to the former Rose Agnes Grover, who died in 2001, and whose poems frequently appeared in The Buffalo News Reporters' Notebook.

Survivors include a daughter, Rose M., and a son, Sanford, both of Buffalo; four brothers, J. Bernard of Buffalo, James of Lancaster, Thomas of Georgia and Robert of Oregon; two sisters, Francis Miller of Colorado and M. Joyce of Cassadaga; two grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

Friends attended a remembrance Sunday in Buffalo.


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