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Lester T. Russell

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Lester T. Russell 1910 - 2008 BENNINGTON Lester T. Russell, 98, engineer of Teflon coated materials, dies. Lester T. Russell, founder of Taconic, formerly Taconic Plastics, died on Saturday, Sept. 6, in Orleans, Mass., after a brief illness. Russell founded Taconic in 1961, developing and manufacturing advanced engineered composite materials that are used today in numerous industries, from Teflon coated tapes and belts used in the food processing, aerospace, apparel, textile, plastics, paper, chemical and packaging industries, to laminates used in circuit boards buried within numerous electronic gadgets. Born in Ohio In 1910, Russell graduated from Purdue University where he majored in electrical engineering. In 1942 Russell, then manager of electrical development at Owens Corning Fiberglass in Newark, Ohio, refined the process for applying PTFE, polytetraflouroethylene, to fiberglass fabric. Based on this work DuPont hired him, to work on a process for applying Teflon coatings to fiberglass. This proved to be an excellent insulation material for wrapping electrical control cables in aircraft applications. Russell left DuPont in 1953 to serve as the research director for Warren Wire in Pownal, Vt. In 1961 he started Taconic Plastics in Petersburg, N.Y., where Taconic is still headquartered. After his retirement in 1972, he then founded Taconic International, in Ireland, to meet the demand for products in Europe. Taconic is now a global force, with nearly 500 employees, manufacturing and selling in the United States, Canada, Ireland, France, U.K, Germany, Korea and Brazil. Russell was married for 60 years to Virginia Russell, who died in 2001, and had two children, his son, Gordon, died in 1993. Russell also leaves, his daughter, Judith Davidson, of Orleans, Mass., his brother, Page Russell of Cleveland, Ohio, and five grandchildren: Per Davidson of Santa Rosa, Calif., Thomas Davidson of Darien, Conn., Elvira Davidson of Dallas, Texas, Matthew Russell of Orlando, Fla., and Andrew Russell, who has been CEO of Taconic since 1993, and five great-grandchildren. FUNERAL NOTICE: Services will be held at 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 19, at Sant Bani School, 19 Ashram Road, Sanbornton, NH 03269. Donations to the school may be made in lieu of flowers.
Published in Bennington Banner on Sept. 12, 2008
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