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Jacob W. Sietsema


1924 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Jacob W. Sietsema Obituary
SIETSEMA Jr., Jacob W. Jacob W. Sietsema, Jr. passed away in Austin, Texas on Friday, September 7, 2018. He was 94 years old. Jay was born May 29, 1924 in Chicago, Illinois, the second son of Jacob W. Sietsema, Sr. and Mary Sietsema (nee Tanis). He grew up on the South Side in the Roseland neighborhood and attended Fenger High School, where he played clarinet. Drafted into the army during World War II, he served in New Guinea and the Philippines in the Signal Corps, before returning to his hometown and attending the University of Chicago, where he received his B.S. in chemistry (1948) and M.S. in biochemistry (1950). He met his future wife Marilyn Joyce Lafferty there and they were married April 18, 1947 in the university chapel. He later attended Michigan State University, University of Illinois, and Northwestern University for further training in chemical engineering, biology, biochemistry, and chemistry. Soon they moved to St. Joseph, Michigan and started a family. Their first son Robert was born there, before they moved back to the Chicago area. In Northbrook, their second and third sons were born, twins David and William. Jay worked at International Minerals and Chemicals, where he received a patent for the manufacture of monosodium glutamate (brand name Ac'cent) from sugar beets. It was one of a long string of patents he was to receive during his career. In 1959, the family moved to Minneapolis when Jay took a job at Pillsbury, where he worked as a formulator, developing angel food cakes, powdered beverages, cookies, and refrigerated pie pastries, among other products. His career took him and the family to Dallas in 1967 when he took a job at Frito-Lay, newly acquired by Pepsico. His projects there included Nacho Cheese Doritos and Sunchips, for which he devised flavoring schemes. But increasingly his career took on an international scope, as he travelled, sometimes accompanied by Marilyn or one of the children, to Europe, Japan, Mexico, the Middle East, and the Canary Islands to develop snack foods aimed at international markets. He and Marilyn retired to Georgetown, Texas, and eventually to Austin. Jay was known for his intelligence, compassion and inquisitiveness. Through retirement he continued to pursue his love of photography, genealogy, and computers. He shared his knowledge through teaching classes in the community. Jay is survived by his wife Marilyn of 71 years; his three sons Robert, David, and William Sietsema; grandchildren Carrie Sietsema, David Clayton Sietsema, Jessica Lopeman, Laura Gundrum, and Tracy Van Dyk; and great grandchildren L. Jacob and Tate Gundrum, and Tracy Stella Van Dyk, Jr. Jay was a lifelong member of the American Chemical Society. Services will be 10:00 AM on Thursday, September 20, 2018 at Harrell Funeral Home, 4435 Frontier Trail, Austin, TX. Graveside services will be 2:30 PM on Thursday at Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery, San Antonio, TX. Condolences may be sent to: www.harrellfuneralhomes.com.
Published in Austin American-Statesman on Sept. 16, 2018
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