John R. "Jack" Boehringer, of Wynnewood, an engineer and inventor

John R. Boehringer
John R. Boehringer
Posted: March 10, 2013

John R. Boehringer, 82, of Wynnewood, an engineer and inventor who founded a biomedical engineering company, died Tuesday, March 5, of cancer at home.

Mr. Boehringer's life was marked by an intellectual curiosity that led him to build a sailboat as a teen and to learn, in midlife, to fly airplanes.

"He was always curious," said his daughter, Barbara McConnell. "He always wanted to learn new things."

In 1967, Mr. Boehringer, known as "Jack," founded Boehringer Associates, a consulting firm in Wynnewood specializing in cost-control management in manufacturing and hospital operations.

In 1972, Mr. Boehringer, who held 45 patents, founded Boehringer Laboratories Inc., a biomedical-engineering firm that manufactures an array of medical instruments. The company is now based in Phoenixville.

John Randall Boehringer was born June 5, 1930, in Drexel Hill. He was raised in Upper Darby and spent summers in Stone Harbor, N.J., where, at age 16, he built his own Comet-class sailboat. Along with a brother, Gill, Mr. Boehringer raced in regattas throughout the region.

At 40, he won an international competition in that boat, his daughter said.

Mr. Boehringer graduated from Upper Darby High School in 1948. He earned a bachelor's degree in 1952 in mechanical engineering at Cornell University. The next year, he received a master's degree in engineering at Cornell.

It was during his time at Cornell that he met Carol Ballagh, a fellow student. They married in 1953.

During the 1950s, Mr. Boehringer served in the Army, earning the rank of captain. He was stationed at Picatinny Arsenal at Dover, N.J., where he worked on defense projects and oversaw the design of a golf course.

"Six of those holes were the most challenging in New Jersey at the time," his daughter said.

After his time in the Army, he worked for several companies, including Moore Products and General Motors.

After founding Boehringer Associates and facing an increased travel schedule, Mr. Boehringer obtained a pilot's license so he could travel to smaller towns more efficiently. This move launched a lifelong love of flying his Piper Twin Comanche.

"Sailing and flying were his great loves," said his daughter. "He raced boats from the time he was a young child."

She said Mr. Boehringer was able to figure out what would make the boat faster. "He learned to sew so he could recut the sails to make them speedier."

Mr. Boehringer never lost his interest in making things better, said his son, Robert.

"His curiosity is one of the things that was ever-present," said his son. "He constantly reinvented anything and everything. He always figured there was a better way, and he was always searching for it."

In addition to his wife, daughter, and son, Mr. Boehringer is survived by five grandchildren.

A memorial service will be at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, March 16, at Narberth Presbyterian Church, 205 Grayling Ave., Narberth, Pa. 19072, to which donations may be made.


Contact Vernon Clark

at 215-854-5717 or vclark@phillynews.com.

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