Monday, October 6, 2003

Curiosity drove John W. Haefele


Research chemist studied creativity

By Nicole Hamilton
The Cincinnati Enquirer

When Dr. John W. Haefele wrote a poem, he not only found joy in the finished product, but in the process. The retired research chemist for Procter & Gamble had a special interest in the creative process, and was one of the first to perform research in the area.

He also studied creative people through the years.

"He was passionate about Mozart. When he was 80, he took a course in Sarasota on Shakespeare and scored a 95 on his final exam. He studied Greek in high school, and could still recite The Iliad," said his daughter, Jane Dirksen of Anderson Township.

Mr. Haefele died Sept. 25 at Manor Care Nursing Home in Sarasota, Fla. The longtime Mount Healthy resident was 90.

Mr. Haefele graduated from Walnut Hills High School. At the University of Cincinnati, he earned both bachelor's and master's degrees at the same time - when he was 21.

Two years later, he earned a doctorate in chemistry from UC, and married his wife, Katherine, the next day.

Mr. Haefele took a position with U.S. Rubber Co. in New Jersey. He researched synthetic rubber on a rubber plantation in Sumatra, Indonesia.

In 1940, they moved back to New Jersey, where Mr. Haefele worked for U.S. Rubber until 1947. He then accepted a position as a research chemist with Procter & Gamble, and the family moved to Hyde Park.

He acquired most of his patents (more than 100) while working for P&G in cosmetic products in the U.S. and abroad, before retiring in 1974. That year, he and his wife moved to Sarasota.

On the weekends, while working at Procter & Gamble, Mr. Haefele wrote poetry, short stories, and novels - many of which were published - and researched the creative process.

His book, Creativity and Innovation, was also published in Swedish and Japanese. During the late 1950s and 60s, he taught a course on creative thinking at Xavier University.

Mr. Haefele's wife died in 1995.

Survivors include another daughter, Carole Rothacker of Loveland; a brother, Walter Haefele of the state of California; four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Services are private, with burial in Evergreen Cemetery, Southgate.

Memorials: Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Gift of Music, 1241 Elm St., Cincinnati, 45202.

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E-mail nhamilton@enquirer.com




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