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Donald G. Milligan, 81, former Cattaraugus County legislator and election commissioner

Aug. 19, 1937 – March 5, 2019

Donald G. Milligan, of Cheektowaga, a retired Gowanda businessman and former Cattaraugus County legislator and election commissioner, died March 5 in Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Amherst. He was 81.

Born in Gowanda, he grew up in Dayton and was a 1955 graduate of Gowanda High School, where he was a member of the undefeated 1953 Section VI Class A championship cross-country track team.

He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in social studies education from Fredonia State Teachers College, then served in the Navy aboard the destroyer USS Fiske.

Mr. Milligan was an electrician for the former Peter Cooper Corp. in Gowanda for 14 years. He also owned and operated the Gowanda Wee Wash and Quality Cleaners in Gowanda.

A longtime Perrysburg resident, he was a Perrysburg Town Board member and served a term in the Cattaraugus County Legislature from 1981 to 1983. He was named the county’s Democratic elections commissioner in 1986 and held that post for 10 years. He also was Cattaraugus County Democratic chairman from 1994 to 1996.

He was a five-gallon American Red Cross blood donor and was a Perrysburg Little League and Junior baseball coach.

He was a member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Gowanda and a 50-year member of Gowanda Lodge 1382, Loyal Order of the Moose, where he served as a past governor. He also was a member of the Election Commissioners Association of the State of New York; Gowanda Post 409, American Legion; the Slovenian Club; and the Ancient Order of Hibernians in Salamanca and South Buffalo.

He was a longtime Buffalo Bills season ticket holder and was a member of the Talleywackers Super Fans. He also enjoyed golf and camping. A fan of jazz and the Great American Songbook, he also loved to sing karaoke.

He was married in 1960 to the former Joan Armbrust, who also was an officer in the Cattaraugus County Democratic Committee and was chairwoman of the Allegany State Park Commission. They moved to Cheektowaga in 2003 and wintered for many years in Boynton Beach, Fla.

In the 1980s, he completed three marathons and joined his high school coach, Bart Ross, in several Gasparilla runs in Tampa, Fla.

In Florida, he also played in the Palm Beach Senior Softball League and was active in the Elks in Boca Raton and the Eagles in Lake Worth.

In addition to his wife, survivors include two sons, Timothy L. and Thomas J.; a daughter, Maureen A.; a brother, Kenneth; and five grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 11 a.m. Saturday in St. Joseph’s Church, Main Street and Erie Avenue, Gowanda.

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