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June 12, 1924 – July 8, 2013

Richard Byron, of Orchard Park, an industrial construction contractor and a leader in the establishment of the Niagara Aerospace Museum, died July 8 in Autumnview Manor, Hamburg. He was 89.

Born in Buffalo, he was a 1942 graduate of Bennett High School and served in the Army in an engineering combat battalion, doing demolition work and building bridges in Europe during World War II. He attained the rank of master sergeant and was awarded the Bronze Star.

Mr. Byron earned a degree in metallurgical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1949 and joined the executive development program at Republic Steel Corp. but left to assist in his father’s company, C.H. Byron Co., Inc., an industrial steel construction and painting contracting business, when his father became ill.

Mr. Byron owned and operated the company for 43 years, retiring in 1993. The company worked on many large-scale construction projects in the area, including what was then Rich Stadium.

He had a lifelong passion for flight, as a birdwatcher and an aviation historian. He traveled extensively to catch sight of new bird species. He was an early leader in the Buffalo Audubon Society and a longtime member of the Buffalo Ornithological Society.

He was one of the founders of the Niagara Aerospace Museum and served as its executive director, curator and senior historian. He was inducted into the Niagara Frontier Aviation and Space Hall of Fame in 2007. He also was a member of the Aero Club of Buffalo.

Survivors include his wife, the former Barbara “Bobby” Robins; a daughter, Rachel Moore; and two sons, Charles H. II and Andrew H.

A memorial service will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday in the chapel at Forest Lawn.