Frank J. Mathews Sr., a professional engineer who became one of the area's leading plumbing and heating contractors, died Sunday in his Lake View home. He was 89.
A 1940 graduate of Lackawanna High School, he served in the Army Air Forces in the Pacific during World War II. After the war, he earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Buffalo and began his professional career at Cornell Aeronautical Laboratories.
In 1952, Mr. Mathews joined George E. Shank Inc. as project engineer. While at Shank, he also served as sales manager and sales engineer for York Niagara Corp. He also served part time as Lackawanna Planning Commission engineer in 1955 and returned as Lackawanna city engineer in 1961.
At about the same time, Mr. Mathews started his own mechanical contracting and consulting engineering firm. It soon became a leading plumbing, heating and air conditioning contractor, working on many large-scale church, school and commercial projects, including the conversion of the Statler building from hotel operations into office space.
He maintained a downtown Buffalo office in a building he owned at 282 Delaware Ave. for more than 60 years, managing it until his death.
He was a member of the Parish Council, Holy Name Society and Building Committee at Our Lady of Bistrica Catholic Church. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus and was a patron and plumbing contractor for SS. Cyril and Methody Macedonian Orthodox Church in Blasdell.
A member of the Greater Buffalo Building Owners & Managers Association for more than 35 years, he also was a member of the Western New York Plumbing Contractors Association, the University Club, the UB Alumni Association and Briarwood Country Club. He also was a lifelong member of the Erie County Democratic Party.
He enjoyed international travel. He and his former wife, Beverly, headed the International Institute's 26th Annual Folk Ball in 1970 and the Barnabite Fathers Charity Ball in 1973.
In addition to his former wife, he is survived by two sons, Frank and Richard, and a daughter, Karen.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9 a.m. today in Our Lady of Bistrica Church, 1619 Abbott Road, Lackawanna.