Leo Corrigan

Leo Arthur Corrigan, age 94, died on July 18, 2014 in Hilton Head, SC.
He was born on July 17, 1921 in Lancaster, New Hampshire, the son of Arthur and Delia Corrigan.
He had four brothers and two sisters who preceded him in death.
He married Hilda Boyle of Dalton, New Hampshire in September 25, 1950. She died in July 1979. Together
they had five children.
On February 16, 1980, Leo married Anne Cummings. Together they raised six children – Dennis (Sandy) of
Troy MI, Gail (Tony Wessendorff) of Houston TX, Daryl of Phoenix AZ, Brent (Linda) of Denver CO, Scott
(Wendy) of Hilton Head, SC, and Bruce (Julie) of Bowling Green OH. Leo had 17 grandchildren, including
Megan, Craig, and Luke Corrigan, and four great-grandchildren.
Leo enlisted in the Army Air Corps in March 1943. He completed flight training, became a flying
instructor and piloted a C-47 aircraft during WWII spending much of his time in Asia.
After the war, he completed his engineering degree at the University of NH, graduating summa cum laude in
He began his career at Pratt & Whitney Aircraft in East Hartford, CT. He was a design engineer
for the development of gas turbine engines for the military services including the one-hundred series
fighters, the B52 bomber, and several navy fighters. He became Manager of Design Analysis Services at
the Florida Research Laboratory in 1957 and was involved in the development of the RL10 Rocket for the
Atlas-Agena Rocket that places satellites into orbit. He also worked on the Redstone and Apollo Rockets
in conjunction with NASA.
His favorite project during his career was supervising the development and design of the advanced
technology turbojet for the SR71 spy plane, otherwise known as the "Blackbird." The Blackbird
was a highly-classified assignment. He was co-chief engineer in a select group that created this unique
engine which enabled the plane to fly at an altitude of 85,000 feet, covering the distance from Los
Angeles to Washington, D.C. in one hour and eight minutes. The Blackbird remained our spy plane for some
25 years and is on display in the Smithsonian. The Blackbird held many records including the fastest
aircraft for many years.
Upon returning to the East Hartford plant, he also led the design for the original engine for the Boeing
747 airplane. In 1966, Leo became the Engineering Manager at Detroit Diesel Allison, Division of General
Motors in Indianapolis, IN. He led engineering design teams in improving the T-56 turboprop engine, the
TF-41 turbofan engine and various helicopter engines. He retired as the Chief Engineer in 1986.
After retirement, he became a member of the Executive Service Corp and worked on various study
assignments for the City of Indianapolis and several small businesses. He also helped to establish a
science mentoring program for the Indianapolis Public School System. He led a group of individuals to
mentor students during their preparation of science fair projects. Mentoring also included work with
seniors in high school to help them prepare for post-graduate studies.
He was also active in several other organizations including the American Society of Mechanical Engineers,
Tau Beta Pi Honorary (engineering) Society, Lauback Literacy Foundation as a teacher, and the Kiwanis
Club of Speedway and Meridian Hills, in Indianapolis. He held several positions in the Kiwanis Clubs
over a period of about 20 years, serving as treasurer and president, until age 90 when he moved to
Bluffton, SC.
A burial service will take place on Labor Day weekend with family and friends near Lancaster, NH.