Menzel, Thomas Coleman

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Thomas Coleman Menzel, 77, of Budd Lake died on April 24 after a courageous battle with lung cancer.

Mr. Menzel was born on February 11, 1934 in Orange, a son of Catherine (Keenan) and Edward Menzel. He was a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, and the New Jersey Institute of Technology, where he was granted the M.S. degree in the same area of study. He was a longtime employee of Esso Research & Engineering Co. of Linden, which awarded him a full scholarship for his undergraduate work at M.I.T.

Later in his engineering career, he was employed by General Public Utilities, an owner of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station near Harrisburg PA. When the power plant suffered a partial core meltdown in 1979, Mr. Menzel was part of the technical team assembled by G.P.U. to manage the crisis. By 1971, he had also established an electrical contracting business, Andover Electric Co., and he continued to maintain his NJ State electrical contractor’s license for the rest of his life.

Tom was known for his dry wit, his deep curiosity about natural phenomena, and his lifelong quest to understand how everything works. His last months, under the loving care of his three daughters, were notable for his fierce determination not to yield to his illness until the end.

He was predeceased by his second wife, the former Elisea Schrope, his parents, and his older brother, Richard E. Menzel. Survivors include the three daughters of his first marriage to the former Gail Deily: Julie M. Fornaro and husband Andrew of Annandale, Suzanne Menzel and husband Kent Orr of Bloomington IN, and Diana M. Menzel of Andover, his brother, John K. Menzel of Milford PA, and five granddaughters, Caitlin and Margaret Orr, Rebecca and Emily Fornaro, and Julia Davis.

Funeral services will be held Thursday April 28th, 2011 at 10:00 AM in the Iliff-Ruggiero Funeral Home #156 Main St. (Rt. 206) Newton, NJ. Interment will immediately follow in the Good Shepherd Catholic Cemetery Andover Twp., NJ. Visitation will be held at the funeral home Wednesday April 27th from 6 to 9 PM.

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