April 7, 1930 – Dec. 5, 2012

Joseph D. Zehler, an aerospace worker who worked on the Mercury Project in the late 1950s, died Wednesday in Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital. The Amherst resident was 82.

Born in Niagara Falls, Mr. Zehler attended St. Mary Magdalene grammar school and Buffalo’s East High School.

From 1951 to 1953, he served as a private first class in the Army during the Korean Conflict.

Beginning in 1948, he worked at a number of manufacturing facilities over his long career, including Westinghouse, Bell Aircraft and the McDonnell Aircraft Corp. in St. Louis, where from 1958 to 1960 he worked on spacecraft used in Project Mercury.

From 1960 to 1970, Mr. Zehler worked for DuPont, from 1970 to 1974 he worked for Electronic Automation Systems and from 1975 until his retirement in 1985 he worked for Occidental Chemical on Grand Island in research and development.

Mr. Zehler was a member of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars.

His wife, Joan, died in 2007.

Survivors include a daughter, Mary Hagen; four sons, Donald, James, Kenneth and Robert; and a brother, Edward.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:45 a.m. Monday in St. Gregory the Great Church, 200 St. Gregory Court at Maple Road, Amherst.