John J. Drysdale

John J. Drysdale

AGE: 86 • Hockessin

John J. Drysdale passed away after a long illness on January 27, 2014 at the age of 86.

He was born in Springfield, Illinois in 1927 to Robert Drysdale, the sports editor to the Springfield Journal and Marguerite Drysdale, nee Jones, a school teacher. He was an avid musician, playing, inter alia, the violin, bassoon, clarinet and piano.

As his high school valedictorian, he had the option of going to Oberlin to study music, MIT for chemistry, or West Point. To the surprise of all (to put it mildly), he enlisted in the Navy. But the war ended while he was in boot camp, so instead of going into the radar program, he cleaned toilets until an in-depth conversation about classical music with his officer got him transferred to St. Louis to debrief returning GIs on their GI rights - and where he didn't miss a Cardinals game all spring and summer. Then it was off to MIT in the fall of 1946 to study chemistry. While at MIT he attended the 1946 World Series between St. Louis and Boston on a press pass that his father sent him to work the games in Boston. The series went 7 games, 4 in Boston, and he taught three fellow fraternity brothers how to keep an official score book so that they could all attend one game. He also broke the 50 second barrier for the quarter mile while running on the track team (on an outdoor, wood track of all things), unfortunately tearing his arch while doing it and not racing again.

After graduation he became a Fighting Illini where he got his PHD in Chemistry, married his college sweetheart Gerry Rogers, and moved to Delaware to work at DuPont.

After doing basic research, he moved to management in the Organic Chemicals Department. He was a trouble-shooter solving problems and was Project Director for the Reverse Osmosis plant in Orange, Texas. He also served as president of the Delaware division of the American Chemical Society.

His family moved to Hockessin in 1963 where they raised three sons in the idyllic Horseshoe Hill. Jack loved crossword puzzles, murder mysteries, cats, sports and generally putzing in the garden. He was a long-suffering Phillies and Eagles fan, but he always loved the Cardinals.

Jack was an accomplished musician and his love of music later took him to play the violin with the MIT Symphony, Brandywine Pops and the Horseshoe Hill Sinfonietta.

The family wishes to thank the devoted nurses and staff at Christiana Care, Select Hospital at St Francis and the Compassionate Care Hospice nurses at St Francis Hospital.

He leaves behind to cherish his memory his wife Gertrude (Gerry) Rogers Drysdale of Hockessin, sons John and wife Ganga of Newark, David and wife Sylvie Payan of Bethesda, MD, Robert and wife Dr. Elizabeth Callahan of Oxford, MD, grandchildren Allyson, Brennen, Nicolas and Jeremy. He was predeceased by an infant daughter. His was a life well-lived.

Burial services will be private at the Hockessin Friends Cemetery. A memorial service will be held at 11:00 am on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at Chandler Funeral Home, 7230 Lancaster Pike, Hockessin.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to the Delaware Nature Society, Box 700, Hockessin, DE 19707 or the First Unitarian Church, 730 Halstead Road, Wilmington, DE 19803.

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Funeral Home

Chandler Funeral Homes and Crematorium
2506 Concord Pike Wilmington, DE 19803
(302) 478-7100

Published in The News Journal from Jan. 29 to Jan. 31, 2014