John J. "Jack" Meakem Jr. passed away in the arms of his wife, Diane Baillet Meakem, and children, at Greenwich Hospital in Connecticut on the evening of Saturday, September 14, 2013. Mr. Meakem died peacefully after a six-year battle with cancer. A full-time resident of Jupiter, Florida, part-time resident of Greenwich, Connecticut, and former resident of Armonk, New York, he was 77.
Born on May 27, 1936 in Newark, New Jersey, Mr. Meakem was the first son of John J. Meakem, Sr. and Helen G. Meakem. He grew up in Bloomfield, New Jersey and graduated from Seton Hall Prep. He then attended Cornell University where he earned a B.S. in 1958 and an MBA in 1961. At Cornell, he rowed on eight-man heavyweight crews for four years. Later inducted into the Cornell Athletics Hall of Fame, Mr. Meakem stroked the National Championship freshman crew in 1955, was an alternate on the National and European Championship crew that won the Grand Challenge Cup at Henley, England in 1957, and stroked the varsity crew that won the Intercollegiate Rowing Association ("IRA") National Championship in 1958. After college, he served as a Lieutenant in the United States Army.
Mr. Meakem was married to his college sweetheart, Diane Baillet Meakem, for 52 years. He is survived by his wife, their five children (John J. Meakem III of McLean, VA; Glen T. Meakem of Pittsburgh, PA; Bruce W. Meakem of New York City; Charles R. "Chip" Meakem of Mt. Kisco, NY; and Nancy Meakem Gerney of Washington, DC), and fourteen grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother, William J. Meakem, and sister, Evelyn Meakem, both of Wilmington, Delaware.
Mr. Meakem was the retired Chairman, President and CEO of Advanced Polymer Systems, headquartered in Redwood City, CA and Greenwich, CT. A consumer marketing pioneer in the 1960s and 70s, Mr. Meakem led the team that created Vick's Nyquil® then rose to senior management positions in several corporations creating or expanding well-known products including Vick's Formula 44®, Odor Eaters®, and Grecian Formula 16®. He was also active in trade associations, serving on the Board of Directors of the Proprietary Drug Association and on the Executive Committee of the Association of National Advertisers. In his later years, Mr. Meakem was an active private investor, and advisor to entrepreneurs.
Mr. Meakem was a devout Catholic and an active philanthropist, contributing to many organizations including Catholic churches and charities, Jupiter Medical Center in Florida, Greenwich Hospital in Connecticut, and Cornell University. At Cornell, Mr. Meakem was a past President of the University Alumni Association, a lifetime member of the Cornell Council as well as a Cornell Benefactor, and past Chairman of the Cornell Rowing Association. He and his wife, Diane, endowed both the Directorship of the Cornell Early Childhood Center and, with Scott Smith, Cornell's Director of Athletics position.
The family will receive friends and family on Friday, September 20, 2013 from 4PM to 8PM at the Leo P. Gallagher & Son funeral home, 31 Arch Street, Greenwich, CT. A funeral mass will be held at St. Michael's Catholic Church at 11AM on Saturday, September 21, 469 North Street Greenwich, CT with burial following at Putnam cemetery, 35 Parsonage Road Greenwich, CT.
To leave an online condolence please visit www.leopgallaghergreenwich.com