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Frank L. Yakovac, 88, architectural engineer

June 18, 1929 – March 2, 2018

Frank Louis Yakovac, formerly of Lackawanna, a retired architectural engineer, died Friday in Indianapolis, Ind., where he had been a resident since 2015. He was 88.

Born in his family’s home in Lackawanna’s First Ward, the third of five children, he collected scrap metal and bottles to earn pocket change as a boy. At 16, he took a job in the rolling mill at Bethlehem Steel.

A 1947 graduate of Lackawanna High School, he attended the University of Buffalo and received an associate’s degree in mechanical engineering.

Serving in the Army from 1951 to 1953, he was stationed on the front line in Korea and attained the rank of corporal. He resumed his education at the University of Michigan, then returned to the Buffalo area.

Mr. Yakovac was chief engineer for 12 years for Ray H. Bennett Lumber Co. in North Tonawanda, designing ready-cut Bennett Homes – houses, bungalows and cottages that were sold throughout the Northeast.

After Bennett closed in the 1970s, he worked as an independent architect with residential development and construction companies such as DeAngelis and Ucci, Buchanan-Eichel Homes and Alex Szur Builders, designing homes in Amherst, Williamsville, Grand Island and the Southtowns.

He retired in the mid 1990s, but still did occasional design projects, including a home for one of his daughters, Michelle, in the Austin, Texas, area.

In 2002, he moved to Cedar Creek, Texas, where he operated an antique shop for a few years.

He also was an avid hobbyist. He constructed birdhouses, made miniature buildings from stone, collected coins and gems and hunted for buried items with a metal detector.

“His mind was always going,” his other daughter, Karen, a former Buffalo radio newswoman, said. “There was never a time it stopped.”

His wife of 40 years, the former Caroline Granica, died in 1997.

Survivors also include a sister, Dorothy Levulis; two grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Saturday in Our Lady of Bistrica Catholic Church, 1619 Abbott Road, Lackawanna.

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