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Charles A. Gallagher Jr., WWII vet, industrial engineer, pilot April 13, 1926 -- Sept. 6, 2009

A memorial service for Charles A. Gallagher Jr. will be at 11 a.m. Saturday in Maryvale Drive Presbyterian Church, 425 Maryvale Drive, Cheektowaga.

Mr. Gallagher died Sept. 6 in the hospice unit of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Buffalo, after a two-year battle with cancer. He was 83.

Born in Bradford, Pa., Mr. Gallagher was an Army veteran of World War II and was awarded a Purple Heart after he was wounded during the invasion of Okinawa. After the war, he graduated from the University of Buffalo and worked as an industrial engineer at Ford Motor Co.'s Buffalo Stamping Plant in Hamburg for 23 years.

Mr. Gallagher began a second career in 1983, when he retired from Ford in order to operate the Frewsburg Hotel, which provided an outlet for his love of food and cooking.

Since his teenage years, Mr. Gallagher had a fascination with flying; he used to ride his bicycle to Bradford Airport to watch and learn about planes. In 1972, he obtained his pilot's license and was among the founders of the Clarence Flying Club.

Mr. Gallagher had served as manager of Clarence Aerodome Airport, which the flying club purchased. He was an active member of Buffalo Chapter 46, Experimental Aircraft Association.

Stock car racing was another of his passions. He operated North Collins Speedway during the 1960s, owned a race car and was a member of the Friends of Auto Racing Fan Club.

Mr. Gallagher also was a member of George F. Lamm Post 622, American Legion, and Disabled American Veterans.

His wife of 51 years, Mildred Wickstrom Gallagher, died in 2004.

Survivors include a son, Charles III; two daughters, Melissa Chwojdak and Carla Schmidt; a stepson, Bill Hoctor; three sisters, Patricia Roff, Naoma Hutton and Shirley Dehn; and two brothers, Donald and Lee.

[HABUDA]

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