AKRON — Lee J. Vandenberg, a vice president of research and development with BFGoodrich Co. and Uniroyal Goodrich Tire Co. (UGTC) in the 1980s and '90s, died May 3 at age 91.
Mr. Vandenberg joined BFGoodrich in 1952 after pursuing a graduate degree in chemistry at Columbia University. He served in various technical and managerial positions in the R&D department of BFG's tire division, eventually becoming senior vice president of tire R&D.
He stayed with the company after it merged in 1986 with Uniroyal Inc.'s tire business and retired from UGTC in 1991 as vice president of R&D.
Along the way he obtained several patents for his work. Early in his career he developed the compounds for the tires used on the SR-71 Blackbird spy plane.
A native of Paterson, N.J., he served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Panama in the 1940s and then earned a B.S. in chemistry from Ohio University.
He was active in the Akron Rubber Group for many years, serving as chairman in 1976-77, and was a longtime member of the Rubber Division American Chemical Society. He also served on the Advisory Council-College of Engineering, Akron University and the Advisory Council of the Akron Council of Engineering and Scientific Societies.
He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Carol (Moss), and a son, Dr. Scott Vandenberg (Dr. Kristin Bennett); and two granddaughters.
To share a memory, send a condolence or light a candle, visit the Tribute Wall at Billow Funderal Homes.