Pieter Johann von Herrmann Shaker Heights, OHPieter Johann von Herrmann, 85, of Shaker Heights, OH, died on his birthday, July 1, 2013, from cancer. He was the husband of Mary L. (Turner) von Herrmann, and father and mentor to a large extended family. A nuclear physicist and engineer, he enjoyed a long career at General Electric Co., and helped design reactors to power the U.S. Navy's nuclear submarine fleet under Admiral Rickover. He started with GE in 1958 at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory in Schenectady, NY, moved to Wilmington, NC and came to Cleveland in 1981 as director of research of the Lighting Business Group at Nela Park. He became director of the Advanced Manufacturing Center at Cleveland State University in 1987. He held a number of patents. Born in Amsterdam, Netherlands, he was the son of Friedrich and Gabriele von Herrmann. He grew up in Germany and immigrated to the United States with his family in 1948. Graduating from Dartmouth College in 1950, he earned a master's degree from Dartmouth and a Ph.D. in nuclear physics from Yale University. He was an elder in both the First Reformed Church in Schenectady, and Church of the Covenant in Cleveland. His greatest devotion was to Habitat for Humanity, where he volunteered for many years. He plied his woodworking skills at home and at the family's house on Piseco Lake in the Adirondacks. He was a voracious reader of history, science and politics, and loved well-reasoned, intellectual conversation. He will be missed for his generous spirit and wise counsel. Besides his wife of 57 years, Mary; he leaves a sister, Maryell Semal of New York City; four children, Joan, Tim, Mary and Anne; their spouses, and eight grandchildren. Memorial services will be held later. Donations in his name may be made to the Cleveland Foodbank, 15500 South Waterloo Road, Cleveland 44110, or at www.clevelandfoodbank.org.
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Published in The Daily Gazette Co. on July 9, 2013