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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Jim Abbott Will Be Missed...

James C. Abbott, Cincinnati, Ohio, passed away Sept. 29, 2016.

Jim seemed a bit unassuming. He looked a little like Mr. Magoo. However, if you talked to him at all you realized he was more like Donald Trump. He never had an opinion or thought that he did not express.  The type of action Jim reveled in was either teaching a "youngster" at Proctor & Gamble a thing or two about tissue at their facility in Cincinnati, OH or discussing and debating the merits of different test methods and evaluations for tissue products and their applications. He loved a good debate. At times he seemed bored if there wasn't some kind of controversy to be debated.

Jim had strong credentials:
  B.S. College of Wooster
  M.S. Chemistry, Ohio State University

  Ph.D. Chemistry, Ohio State University

He was employed by the Procter and Gamble Company for almost 30 years until he retired in 1994. However, he stayed very active in TAPPI (Technical Association of the Pulp & Paper Industry). and ISO (International Standards Organization).  His research and testing interests were in tissue products.  This isn't the type of dinner-time conversation that brings flocks of followers and invitations to speak at university functions. However, this seemingly grumpy individual possessed a treasure trove of knowledge when it came to the history of testing methods and standards related to the Paper Industry. 

Once you were on his radar, he could easily explain the history of different tests, their inception, changes that occurred, and why these changes were made. He would also give you the unfiltered version of how these things evolved, whether motivated by geographic politics (Europe vs. North America) or sound technical considerations.

ISO TC6 Meeting - Paris 2011
Jim was a tireless volunteer in this respect. He was involved in ISO, TAPPI, ASTM and other standards organizations. He selflessly volunteered to review many standards when no one else would do so. He was a great asset in this regard including being Chairman of the U.S. TAG (Technical Advisory Group) to ISO TC 6 (pulp, paper and paperboard). He also initiated the first Working Group within ISO for Tissue Properties, which still exists today.

Some of his TAPPI Awards:
1991 Process and Product Quality Division Leadership and Service Award
1994 Fellow
2009 Herman L. Joachim Distinguished Service Award

Those of us who worked with him over the years will miss so many of his eccentricities, funny comments, appreciation of a nice adult beverage, technical prowess and sheer knowledge in the area of testing related to the Paper Industry.

Farewell, Jim Abbott...you will be missed!