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Francis J. “Frank” Illig Jr., first electrical engineer hired by Moog

July 22, 1926 – March 14, 2016

Francis J. “Frank” Illig Jr. of East Aurora, the first electrical engineer hired by Moog Inc., died Monday under hospice care in Mercy Hospital. He was 89.

Born in Buffalo, he was a graduate of Kenmore High School and served in the Navy during World War II as an electrician’s mate second class aboard the destroyer escort USS Tomich in the North Atlantic and Pacific.

Returning from service, he attended Clarkson College and graduated in 1950 from the University of Buffalo with a degree in electrical engineering.

Mr. Illig worked as an engineer for Sylvania Electronics, then joined Moog in the 1950s. He later became international sales manager for Delevan Electronics.

He finished his career at R.W. Mitscher Co. in Clarence, where he was vice president for sales and marketing. He retired in 1996.

He was a talented athlete in several sports, including softball, baseball, football, hockey and sailing.

An accomplished skier, he taught Moog Inc. founder Bill Moog how to ski.

He played on the Moog softball team, Cornell Aeronautical Lab baseball team, Kenmore Alumni football squad and the Kenmore High School hockey club. He also was a member of the Murray Hill Ski Club.

An avid yachtsman, he was a competitive sailor on his boat, “Warlock,” which he docked at the Buffalo Canoe Club.

Mr. Illig also raised award-winning show horses and took them to local and national equestrian competitions. In addition, he was a dedicated fan and supporter of Nichols School hockey.

He was a member of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church and a past president of the Holy Name Society. He was a 50-year member of the American Legion and a member of the Buffalo Chapter of the Destroyer Escort Sailors Association.

Survivors include his wife of 62 years, the former Mary Gucwa; a daughter, Karen; a brother, Leon; and two grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Monday in Immaculate Conception Church, 520 Oakwood Ave., East Aurora.

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