Douglas W. Tikkanen, who was a telemetry engineer in data systems at Grumman’s ground station in Calverton for 26 years, died on Friday at Southampton Hospital. He was 70 years old and had lived on Harbor Boulevard in Springs for more than 40 years. His wife, Deanna Tikkanen, said he had a heart attack.
At Grumman, Mr. Tikkanen worked to support the testing of aircraft. When the plant closed in 1994, he retired, but found work with the Town of East Hampton, driving senior citizens, which he did for about a decade.
Born to Walter Tikkanen and the former Dorothy Castle on June 21, 1943, in Utica, N.Y., he grew up in New Milford, N.J. He graduated from New Milford High School, where he was on the football team and in the band. He attended Northeast Missouri State Teachers College in Kirksville, Mo., and then studied radio electronics in Baltimore, earning a first-class F.C.C. certificate.
He first went to work at Skill Surgical Company in Baltimore, and then found employment at Grumman in 1968.
Mr. Tikkanen met his wife, the former Deanna King, a Springs native, through his mother, who had gone to nursing school with the future Mrs. Tikkanen’s aunt. The couple were married on Aug. 1, 1964, and would have celebrated their 50th anniversary this year. They lived for four years in Baltimore before moving to Springs.
He joined the Springs Fire Department in 1968, but left in 1976 because of a change in his work shift. He rejoined in 1988, staying on until 1991. He was a member of the department’s Benevolent Association. He was also a member of the Springs Presbyterian Church.
His family said he enjoyed fishing and sailing and acted as the first mate on the Aliento with George Wilson when it sailed from East Hampton to Maine in the early 1990s. He also liked to camp and golf, and had been a member of the Grumman Golf League.
“He was proud to be an American and especially enjoyed the New York Mets and Giants,” his family said.
In 2009 and 2010, he remodeled a family house in the historic district of Southold. He “was thrilled to have the opportunity to restore this beautiful home to its original state,” his family said.
They said they would remember him as a loving father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by two sons, David W. Tikkanen of Scotia, Calif., and Keith A. Tikkanen of Cambutal, Panama. A sister, Bev Wiggins of Sag Harbor, also survives, as do five grandchildren and one great-grandson.
A wake was held at the Yardley and Pino Funeral Home in East Hampton on Monday. A service took place at the Springs Presbyterian Church on Tuesday, followed by burial at Green River Cemetery in that hamlet.
His family has recommended donations to the Springs Fire Department, 179 Fort Pond Boulevard, East Hampton 11937.