Music 17

John R. Engstrom

June 22, 1918 ~ June 3, 2019 (age 100)

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John R. Engstrom, 100, died unexpectedly June 3, 2019. John was born in Chicago, Illinois on June 22, 1918 and grew up in Deerfield, Illinois.  John is survived by his beloved family, Dorothy, his wife of 76 years, and their children; Lee George Engstrom (James Bleeker)  and Lynne Engstrom Williams (Glen Williams), 2 grandchildren; Per Engstrom (Kathy Panyard Engstrom) and Lars Engstrom (Kelly Rector Engstrom) and 7 great-grandchildren; Aidan. Berit, Camille, Petra, Soren, Annike, and Tova.   John was predeceased by his parents George and Nina (Reid) Engstrom and his sister Helen Engstrom. 

In 1940 John received a BS in Physics from the University of Illinois and a MS in Physics in from the University of Illinois.  He took additional courses at Syracuse University, University of Michigan, MIT, Cornell University and Georgia Technology.  He was a member of the Acoustical Society of America, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia (Honorary Music Fraternity), as well as Gamma Alpha (Honorary Graduate Scientific Fraternity).  John held five patents in technical fields and gave numerous papers at technical symposia.  During WW2 he was occupationally deferred to work at MIT Underwater Sound Laboratory.  He worked on “noise makers” to sweep acoustically sensitive mines and as well as “noise makers” to allow a submarine to escape detection by listening devices.

John had a distinguished 37 year career as an Acoustical Engineer at IBM.  He worked in the field of mechanism noise reduction and Electro-Magnetic Compatibility laboratory on power line electrical interference.  He retired in 1978 as an Advisory Engineer Consultant in acoustics.  Of all his professional achievements, he was most proud of being part of the team that developed the first successful heart-lung machine under the direction of Dr. Gibbon at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, which helped to save countless lives. He developed technology that is still in use today. 

As a senior at Highland Park High School in 1935 he played in the Northwestern University Band.  He played in the University of Illinois Concert Band, 1936-1941.  John was also the longest tenured member of the IBM Band, participating for 54 years as both a musician (Percussionist) and director. He was also a percussionist for the Binghamton Symphony Orchestra for 25 years, under the direction of Fritz Wallenburg, the Tri-Cities Opera Orchestra, for 20 years, under the direction of Peyton Hibbitt. He also played in and conducted the Maine Community Band, the Vestal Community Band, and the Southern Tier Concert Band, as a clarinetist and percussionist. 

He was a member of the Endwell United Methodist Church.

He was a volunteer at Wilson Memorial Hospital with over 3000 hours of service for 26 years.  He volunteered as a courtesy driver for the BC Open for 26 years.  He enjoyed golf, bowling, travel, and music. 

A memorial service will be held 3:00 pm Saturday June 22, 2019 (John's 101st birthday) in the auditorium at Hilltop Manor, 286 Deyo Hill Rd., Johnson City. The family will receive friends from 2:00-3:00 pm. Musician friends are invited to bring their instrument and join in a musical tribute to John during the service. He will be entombed at Vestal Hills Memorial Park in a private ceremony. In lieu of flowers please make a contribution to Tech Works Center for Technology and Innovation, 321 Water St. Binghamton, NY 13901 (

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June 22, 2019

2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Hilltop Manor Johnson City

Memorial Service
June 22, 2019

3:00 PM
Hilltop Manor Johnson City

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