Jacob H. Propp
1941 - 2020
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Jacob H. Propp

Oshkosh - Jack Propp passed away peacefully on Oct. 26, 2020. He was born on November 28, 1941 in Fort Morgan, Colorado, a farming community in the northeastern part of the state. He was the third son of Jacob and Marie Propp. While still in high school, he worked as a radio announcer for KFTM, the local radio station. He gained a strong work ethic from an early age by working on the family farm. Typically, children as young as 7 were driving small tractors.

He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Colorado in 1963 with a chemistry major. In 1965 he was awarded a Master of Science degree from the University of Minnesota in Analytical Chemistry. He went on to earn a PhD in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Illinois in 1968.

On December 23, 1963 he married Kathleen McGuire from Boulder, CO. He is survived by his wife of 56 years and two daughters, Lisa Opitz (Mark) and Jennifer Dreikosen (Robert); brother Melvin (Karen); sisters-in-law Marilyn Propp, Margaret Betchart and Susan McGuire; and grandchildren Ellen and Peter Opitz. Preceding him in death were his parents, brother Kenneth (Marilyn), sister Helen and brother-in-law Bill Betchart (Margaret).

In 1968 he accepted an assistant professorship at UW-Oshkosh teaching analytical chemistry. While at UW-Oshkosh he was involved extensively in student research and served as the Director of Medical Technology for several years. In 1983 he was hired as a research scientist for the James River Corporation (a paper company which is now owned by Georgia Pacific). He worked at the Neenah Technical Center (NTC), which is the corporate research lab responsible for product development and problem solving in the consumer products division. While at NTC he co-authored several patents. He retired as a Senior Research Fellow in 2004.

Jack enjoyed golf, playing bridge, gardening, fishing, reading, international travel, and singing. He was a frequent bass soloist in high school and a member of a select 12-member madrigal group at the University of Colorado. He was a member of the White Heron Chorale and was one of the founding members of the Oshkosh Chamber Singers. He was also a long-time member of the Algoma Boulevard United Methodist (ABUMC) chancel choir. He was a frequent soloist in all of these groups. During his time as chair of the board for the Oshkosh Chamber Singers, he worked with Carl Chapman to organize the Oshkosh Youth Choir. He was also selected to sing in a select group of twelve male Master Singers when it first formed in Appleton. Applicants from throughout northeast Wisconsin auditioned for the few spots.

In addition to singing, Jack was extensively involved in his church (ABUMC) where he chaired several committees including: Trustees, Staff Parish Relations, and Stewardship. He developed a computer spreadsheet used to count and allocate weekly donations to the church. Until recently he served as an usher and scripture reader. He also volunteered for Meals on Wheels and the Winnebago Area Literacy Council, where he provided English language tutoring for immigrants. He will be dearly missed by his family, friends and those in the community who have been touched by his singing and generosity.

Due to Covid, there will be a private memorial service at Algoma Boulevard United Methodist Church. In lieu of flowers, contributions to the Winnebago Area Literacy Council, Oshkosh Chamber Singers, or Wisconsin Public Radio would be appreciated.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Oshkosh Northwestern from Oct. 27 to Nov. 1, 2020.
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2 entries
November 9, 2020
Dear Kathy,
I am so sorry for your loss of Jack. I worked with Jack at James River from 1987-1995. He was always a positive influence on me as a mentor, colleague and friend. I have nothing but positive and fond memories of my time working with him. When I recall my time at James River, he certainly comes to mind as why that time was special to me.

I hope and pray the Lord comforts you with his loving presence and peace through this time.
Dave Biggs
November 2, 2020
Dear Kathy-

I am so sorry for your loss. Jack was a wonderful person and very important in my life. He was my favorite professor in the Chemistry Department at UW-O, and was a factor in making chemistry my major and my career. He was the person who called me when I was working for Kimberly-Clark and set up an interview at James River. When I came over to JR, it started what would be a 30 year career with JR/FJ/GP, over 20 of those years working with Jack. We collaborated on multiple important analytical methods and several patents. He also served as a mentor to me on many occasions. But more importantly, he was a kind, fun person, and a good friend. I have been retired now for about 5 1/2 years, but I still think about Jack and others in the lab and smile. I hope God helps you to a speedy recovery and you and your family enjoy the rest of your lives. God bless.

Gary Schroeder
Gary Schroeder
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