Dec. 8, 1935 — June 17, 2018
As a manager at Moog, where he worked for 38 years, Conrad Jerome Idzik oversaw the testing of key components for NASA projects, including the Apollo and space shuttle missions.
But despite his work on high-flying projects, when his family and friends recall Mr. Idzik, they focus on his more down-to-earth qualities.
Mr. Idzik, a West Seneca resident and avid sportsman, storyteller, community volunteer and husband, father and grandfather, died June 17, 2018, in the Brothers of Mercy in Clarence with care from Hospice Buffalo. He was 82.
He went to work at Moog Inc. in Elma in 1959, eventually becoming manager of the assembly and test department that built aerospace servo valves and servo actuators, which begin or control motion in mechanical systems.
"He was a very energetic man and he worked all the time," said Robert T. Brady, who was president and CEO of Moog. "He and one of his colleagues, on Sunday mornings their wives went to church and they came to the company and marched through the factory to decide what they were going to do the next week."
Brady said of Idzik: "No one in the Moog company was more dedicated or worked harder."
But when he returned home on Sunday afternoon, he focused on his family, said his wife of 59 years, Elaine Idzik. Both his children, Paul and Marie, and later his five grandchildren, looked forward to his creative, child-pleasing "mystery rides."
Over two generations, little ones were delighted by modest but unforgettable jaunts to the Riviera Theatre, the Amherst Museum or the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum, apple picking, or to open houses at fire halls, where "they would get their pictures taken with the firetrucks," said Mrs. Idzik. "It was nothing spectacular, but the children remember it."
Mr. Idzik was born in Depew, the second child of Daniel and Ann (Kolakowski) Idzik and brother of Daniel, Robert, Martin, Karen and Jeffrey.
He attended Depew schools and graduated from Depew High School, then received a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from the University at Buffalo.
Mr. Idzik joined the U.S. Army on Nov. 26, 1954, and served in the 589th Signal Corps as a radar repairman and radar equipment foreman. He received a Good Conduct Medal and was honorably discharged, then ended his reserve obligation in November 1962.
He met the former Elaine Wroblewski at a Catholic Youth Organization event held in St. Augustine Church in Depew and married her in the same church on Aug. 22, 1959.
He was an active community volunteer. Before his marriage, Mr. Idzik was a member of Depew Hook & Ladder, and he continued his service with the the South Line Fire Co. in Cheektowaga after he and his wife moved there.
Throughout his life, he was ready to lend a helping hand with projects, including, in 1994, helping build a permanent structure for the Quaker Aurora Tennis Club, a member-owned, nonprofit club in Orchard Park.
Mr. Idzik enjoyed sailing, tennis, golfing, downhill and cross-country skiing, as well as running. In the 1970s and 1980s, he completed several marathons.
An avid reader who favored history and nonfiction, he was also a gregarious man with, his family said, "a true gift for storytelling."
Mr. Idzik also loved traveling with his wife. Through the years they visited many national parks, took river cruises in Europe and Alaska, and once traveled on the Orient Express.
But, Mrs. Idzik, said, "For him, family was always the most important." Being "Grandpa Connie" to his grandchildren delighted him, his family said.
He retired from Moog in 1997.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Idzik is survived by his children, Paul Idzik and Marie Goodloe; his brothers, Daniel, Robert and Martin, and sister, Karen Reaume; a brother-in-law; five grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, in Fourteen Holy Helpers Church, 1350 Indian Church Road, West Seneca. The family requested memorial donations to Hospice Buffalo, whose workers provided Mr. Idzik with "compassionate care at his journey's end."