Otto Vogl(1927 - 2013)

AMHERST - Professor Otto Vogl, 85, passed away peacefully April 27, 2013, at home, with his dear wife Jane Cunningham Vogl and dog Gracie by his side.

Otto was a dynamic visionary who was one of the global leaders in the development of plastic.

He was born Nov. 6, 1927, in Traiskirchen, Austria, near Vienna.

He studied organic chemistry, receiving his doctorate from the University of Vienna in 1949, having completed his thesis on steroids. In 1952, he went to the University of Michigan as a post-doctoral fellow where he met and married Jane. They then moved to Princeton University where he continued his research. In 1956, he joined DuPont in Wilmington, Del., which was the beginning of his illustrious career.

At DuPont, Otto was one of the pioneer researchers on aldehyde polymerization (plastics). He was there for 14 years before becoming a full professor and one of the founders of the Polymer Science and Engineering Department at University of Massachusetts Amherst.

In 1983, he left UMass to accept the newly created position as the Herman F. Mark Professor at the Polytechnic University in New York, the first endowed polymer professorship in the country. He recognized science as an international language and tirelessly taught and lectured worldwide.

During his academic career, Otto Vogl supervised approximately 100 students and postdoctoral research associates from around the world, published 450 scientific papers, wrote an additional 150 science related articles and held of over 50 U.S. and foreign patents. He served on 15 editorial boards, received many international awards and four honorary doctoral degrees.

Otto was also very active in committee work in the polymer field and developed and led many of its critical organizations. He was a member of, among others, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Science Foundation, the American Chemical Society, the Austrian Chemical Society, the Pacific Polymer Federation, which he founded in furtherance of his commitment to international science, and the prestigious Royal Swedish Society of Sciences.

Otto is survived by Jane, his wife of 57 years; their son Eric of Houston, Texas, and daughter Yvonne of New York; eight grandchildren; one great-granddaughter; and Gracie, his dog. He will be deeply missed by all.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Tuesday, May 7, at 10 a.m. in St. Brigid's Church, Amherst. A private family burial will follow in Wildwood Cemetery.

Obituary and memorial register at

Funeral Home

Douglass Funeral Home
87 North Pleasant Street Amherst, MA 01002
(413) 253-3407

Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette on May 2, 2013