O’Rourke & O’Rourke
Inc. Funeral Home

25 River Street
Salamanca, NY 14779
phone: (716) 945-4760
fax: (716) 945-4222

William J Fries Jr.

Mr. William J. Fries Jr. 82, of 129 Highland Avenue, Salamanca, New York died Thursday afternoon (January 29, 2008) at Absolute of Salamanca, New York.

Born November 16,1925 in Bristol Conn. he was the son of late William and Gladys Ridgway Fries Sr.

He married Ethel (Wyatt) Fries, who survives, on November 11, 1944 at Kissinger Methodist Church in Salamanca.

Mr. Fries was a conductor for the B&O Railroad for 40 years and an international field supervisor for the United Transportation Union for 22 years. He was local chairman for the B&O Conductors and Trainmen Committee for 12 years.

He belonged to the United Congregational Methodist Church in Salamanca and was a former member of the American Legion Hughes Skiba Post 535.

Mr. Fries was a member of the Great Valley Lodge #1178, having joined the Cattaraugus Lodge #239 in 1948, which eventually merged with Little Valley and Ellicottville Lodges in Great Valley.

He was a 32nd degree mason with membership in the Jamestown Consistory Scottish Rite

Mr. Fries pursued his dream to create a Rail Museum in Salamanca and worked diligently along with city and county officials and many dedicated volunteers to make a lasting tribute to Salamanca Rail History.

After the museum opened in June if 1984 he organized excursions from Salamanca to Gowanda with the help of the New York and Lake Erie Road, sold tickets and worked as conductor for many of the trips.

He helped acquire the rolling stock at the museum and many of the exhibits of memorabilia.

In addition Mr. Fries served in the Police Commission for the City of Salamanca filling the unexpired term of robert Hoag from 1974 to 1982. He was vice chairmen in 1975 and was chairman from 1976 until he left the commission in 1982.

Mr. Fries was the author of two books: Train Wrecks and Disasters: a pictorial and chronological history as reported by the press" and "Baltimore and Ohio Railroad: stations and towers along the Niagara Division." He published a third book, "Iron Rails in Seneca Land" written by L. W. Kilmer.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Fries is survived by a son, William R. Fries; a daughter, Sue A. Fries; a granddaughter; Meredith (David) Isaac; a grandson, William J. (Jennifir) Fries III; three great-granddaughters, Chloe Fries-Isaac, Emma Isaac and Anna Isaac, all of Salamanca; one sister, Mary (James) Vann of Houston Texas, several nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by 3 brothers, Stanley Fries, Noel Fries, Robert Fries and a sister, Ruth Ann Hardaman.

Friends may call at the O'Rourke & O'Rourke Inc. Funeral Home, 25 River Street, Salamanca, New York on Friday (February 1, 2008) from 10:00 A.M. - 12:00 P.M. at which time funeral and commital services will be held with pastor Joshua Schallert of the United Congregational Methodist Church officiating.

Members of the Great Valley Lodge #1178 F & A.M. will hold masonic services in the funeral home on Friday at 11:00 A.M.

The family suggests memorials to the Salamanca Rail Museum.

Friends may call on at the O'Rourke & O'Rourke Inc, Funeral Home, 25 River Street, Salamanca, New York

e-condolences may be sent to john@orourke-orourke.com