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John Yeager, 85, Chemist, Formerly Of Ridgefield

RIDGEFIELD, Conn. – John F. Yeager, a former longtime resident of Ridgefield, died July 17 after a long illness. He was 85.

Most recently of New Canaan, Yeager worked as a research chemist at Union Carbide for many years.

Born Jan. 3, 1927, in Orange, N.J., he was the son of Olga and Ernest F. Yeager. After graduating from Orange High School, Yeager earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics with a minor in physical chemistry from Montclair State Teachers College in 1949.

His undergraduate studies were interrupted by an 18-month tour of duty in the U.S. Navy as an aviation electronics technician's mate. A teaching assistant and Harshaw Fellow, Yeager continued his education at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, where he received a master's degree in 1951 and a doctorate in physical chemistry in 1953.

In 1953, Yeager began working as a research chemist for the battery products division at Union Carbide. During his 39 years with the company, he worked his way up to vice president and general manager of technology before retiring in 1991.

A member of Sigma Xi and the Electrochemical Society, Yeager published and held several patents in electrochemistry. He sang in church choirs and barbershop quartets, played the trumpet and the Swiss alphorn. Yeager was an elder in Ridgefield First Congregational Church.

In later years, he was an avid reader of mysteries. He also took up wood carving, specializing in carving wildlife sculptures.

He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Gertrude Yeager; a son, John (Linda) Yeager; a daughter, Julie (Andrew) Zink; a son-in-law, Andrew Wood; and nine grandchildren.

His first wife, Olive B. Yeager, died in 1967; a daughter, Suzanne Wood, died in 1997, and another daughter, Linda Smrdel-Kerns, died in 1999. He was also predeceased by his brother, Ernest B. Yeager.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Aug. 4, at Ridgefield First Congregational Church. Hoyt Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Masonic Charity Foundation of Connecticut , P.O. Box 70, Wallingford, CT 06492, or Staying Put in New Canaan , P.O. Box 484, New Canaan, CT 06840.

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