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Former B.F. Goodrich researcher dies at 93

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Dr. Stephen Semegen, long-time research official at the B.F. Goodrich Co., died on Monday, March 19, 2012. He was 93.

Semegen, an internationally recognized authority on polymer science and rubber, suffered a heart attack earlier this month after returning from a trip to Palm Springs, Calif., and never recovered. He resided at Laurel Lake in Hudson, Ohio, at the time of his death.

Born in Akron on Dec. 28, 1918, he lettered in football, track and basketball at Central High School and the University of Akron, where he received a bachelor of science degree in chemistry and a master of science degree in polymer chemistry. He earned a doctorate in chemistry from The Ohio State University.

Semegen was a laboratory manager at Quaker Rubber Co. in Philadelphia, Pa., before returning to Akron in 1945, when he joined B.F. Goodrich’s research department. He later became manager of rubber research, director of technical services and director of new product research.

"Dr. Semegen had a remarkable career at Goodrich and later with the Natural Rubber Bureau based in (Washington) D.C.," says Bob Troyer, public relations counselor. "He held more than two dozen patents for rubber and polymer technology."

Troyer added that Semegen's long list of patents, which included puncture-sealing tires, radiation-resistant rubber and flexible rubber parts and gaskets for the nuclear-powered submarine Nautilus, Apollo spacecraft and Sputnik satellites, "show his long-term effect on the industry."

Semegen’s writings were published in a range of publications, including "Encyclopedia Britannica," "Encyclopedia of Materials Science and Engineering," "Encyclopedia of Physical Science and Technology" and "Vanderbilt Rubber Handbook." He also was a frequent lecturer at universities throughout the United States and Canada, as well as Mexico, South America, Malaysia, Japan, Europe and the Soviet Union.

Semegen was preceded in death by his first wife, Jane Schmiedel Semegen, who died in 1985; his second wife, Beverly Heisler Semegen, who died in 2010; and his son, Patrick Semegen. He is survived by sons Stephen Semegen and Jack Semegen of Palm Springs, Calif., and Dan (Susan, the granddaughter of Harvey Firestone) Semegen of Scottsdale, Ariz.; grandchildren Michael, Peter, Sarah and Mark Semegen; and niece Donna Semegen. 

Funeral services will be held Saturday, March 24, at 10:30 a.m. at the Serenity Chapel at Laurel Lake, 200 Laurel Lake Dr. in Hudson. Memorials may be made to the Humane Society of Greater Akron, 7996 Darrow Rd., Twinsburg, Ohio 44087.

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