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Jon R. Duncan, former Birdair president and CEO March 30, 1948 -- Sept. 20, 2005

Jon R. Duncan of East Amherst, former president and chief executive officer of Birdair Corp., died Tuesday in the Center for Hospice & Palliative Care, Cheektowaga, after a 14-month battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 57.

Born in Natrona Heights, Pa., he attended Grove City College and the University of Cincinnati. He began his career as an ironworker, traveling throughout the country, including Alaska, on construction jobs.

He served in the Army from 1964 to 1972.

Mr. Duncan started his own construction firm, Tricon Corp., in Ohio in the late 1970s after teaching himself estimating, scheduling and contract skills. He joined Birdair in 1985 as a project manager and was named president and CEO in January 1996. He left the company in October 2002 when it changed ownership.

He was extremely proud of the Birdair tensile membrane structures that were constructed during his tenure, a list that includes the Carrier Dome in Syracuse; King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; the Minneapolis Metrodome; the Georgia Dome in Atlanta; Rome's Olympic Stadium; and the main terminal of Denver International Airport.

Mr. Duncan was known for his adventurous spirit, playing as hard as he worked. His hobbies included motorcycling, scuba diving, rock climbing, sky diving and bungee jumping. A world traveler, he also was a licensed pilot.

He also enjoyed spending time with his extended family, entertaining family and friends, dancing and living life to its fullest.

Surviving are his wife, the former Monica Saia; three sons, Jonathan S. of Orange, Calif., and Frederick J. and Troy D., both of East Amherst; and two brothers, David Duncan and Daniel Inglese, both of Marietta, Ga.

A memorial Mass will be offered at 10 a.m. Saturday in Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church, 8550 Main St., Clarence. Burial will be in Clarence Fillmore Cemetery.

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