Milton Alan Widerman, known for his creativity in engineering designs that ran from aircraft to stores and parking lots, died at his Huntington home from congestive heart failure on April 22, 11 days after his 91st birthday.
Widerman's talent for design was apparent early, his family said. As a teenager, he'd sketch futuristic car designs on the cardboard inserts from laundered shirts, said his son, Paul, of upstate Accord
"He always loved cars. He wanted to design for the auto industry, but the war came along and there were no jobs doing that," said another son, Steve, of Huntington.
Milton Widerman would eventually get work designing aircraft, as a civilian, during World War II.
In a eulogy of her father, Susan Blog of Huntington said his designs for the government included a plane that could refuel in midair.
He later became an expert in designing stores and maximum-efficiency parking lots when he worked for the Pathmark supermarket chain, Blog said.
Even though he retired 20 years ago, Steve Widerman said his father had many design projects on his drafting table. "He went around to different people in Huntington to help them design things," the son said.
While his children said their father had a "cantankerous" side, they said he was also supportive, providing wise counsel.
Born in Newark, Milton Widerman graduated from Rutgers University in 1942 with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering.
He worked for Curtis Wright Aircraft in Ohio, designing planes for the war effort, his family said. He returned to Newark and married the former Carolyn Krichman, his wife of 61 years, who survives him.
He later went to work for Republic Aviation in Farmingdale, settling in Huntington in 1957.
"My father loved Long Island and Huntington," where he was known as the unofficial mayor of West Neck Beach, Paul Widerman said.
In addition to his wife and three children, Widerman's survivors include five grandchildren.
He was buried April 24 at B'nai Jeshurum Cemetery in Hillside, N.J.