Donald Edgar, who rose from award-winning work on the Apollo 11 spacecraft to lead a Bohemia-based electronics manufacturing company, died Sept. 2 at his home in Northville, weeks after being diagnosed with a rare form of stomach cancer. He was 85.
Edgar, the son of Scottish immigrants, was born in Brooklyn and graduated from Newtown High School in Elmhurst, Queens. Edgar served in the U.S. Army from 1948 to 1950, family members said.
Among his interests were debating politics, gardening, home improvement and landscaping.
Daughter Jody Cook, 58, of Wading River, remembers driving to the hardware store with her father to buy deck supplies.
"I was the boy he never had. He had me out there mowing the lawn and building decks," she said. "It was a challenge keeping up with him, but I loved that time because I could have alone time with him."
Daughter Nancy Winkler, 59, of Northville, lived next door to her dad. "He was known to let his opinions be known," she said of her father's passionate personality. "You always knew what he was thinking."
His wife of 49 years, Pamela Edgar, preceded him in death. He married his second wife, Delphine Edgar, 75, 12 years ago.
Edgar spent most of his career working at Kollsman Instrument Corp., an aerospace manufacturing company in Syosset.
There, he received a NASA Apollo Achievement Award for his work on the Apollo 11 lunar lander, which set the first men on the moon.
After working there 25 years, he declined an offer to remain with the company when it relocated to New Hampshire.
Edgar was later hired by Bohemia-based Beta Transformer Technologies, which according to its website makes high-performance military, commercial and space-level magnetic components. He rose to company president.
He even found time to complete a course study in production, planning and management at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.
In retirement, he founded The Tea Room at Stony Brook, a breakfast and lunch cafe known for offering high tea, relatives said.
Edgar grew up following the Brooklyn Dodgers, but later became an avid New York Mets fan. He was also founder and past president of the Northville Beach Civic Association.
For many years, he divided his time between Northville Beach and Naples, Florida.
One of his passions was beautifying homes, and he spent some of his final days floating in his pool from the Riverhead hamlet overlooking the Long Island Sound and finishing a deck project for one of his grandchildren and railings on a set of beach stairs for another.
He is survived by his wife, along with Winkler, Cook and another daughter, Cindy Garruba, 61, of Riverhead.
Four days after his death, a memorial was held at Setauket Presbyterian Church. Family members said his body was cremated, but they have not decided where to spread his ashes.