John R. LeBlanc

John LeBlancAfter completing high school in Canastota, Class of 1953, John put himself through college, graduating with honors from Alfred University with a B.S. in Ceramic Engineering. He then served in the U.S. Army, achieving the rank of Captain. He worked in the glass industry and also the gas industry for international companies for 50 years.

John held 15 patents, and his oxygen-fueled furnaces are now used around the world. His research led him to travel the globe where he was internationally recognized as a leader in the fields of glass technology and gas combustion. As the Senior Glass Technologist with Linde, he was a popular figure with colleagues and customers who appreciated his hard work and friendship within the industry.

John’s parents emigrated from Canada to New York State and he was subsequently born in Niagara Falls. As a student at Alfred University, he was planning on a career in sales, but found he was more drawn to the field of research.

John spent 30 years working with Brockway Glass and Brockway-Owens in charge of furnace research and development as well as glass composition, working on a global basis. During this time, he developed an innovation in furnace technology using air-fuel combustion that is used in the glass industry today. Later John worked for British Oxygen Company which later became Linde Gas. While working at Linde, John developed new approaches to glass melting that led to the commercialization of a technology known as the CGM, which has been a commercial success. The application of advanced glass melting technology (CGM) to many different market segments was a treat for John.

Working with global companies demanded extensive travel and John enjoyed the friendship ofJohn LeBlanc Graduation people from all over the world. He enjoyed every country he visited, and his life was full of a broad range of experiences. Some of his fondest memories were of traveling in China during the 1980’s as development there was beginning to take place, bicycling through France’s Bordeaux region, diving in Thailand, and jogging through the streets of Denmark at dawn. He liked the people, the research, and everything he was involved with over the years. John said, “Regardless of the country or the culture, the friendships that I have made will be my more cherished memory of my travel.” His colleagues said that John was a truly unique individual within the glass industry, due to his broad knowledge of the glass process from furnace design, refractory issues, glass composition and defect analysis. They added, however, that with his extensive background he was always open to new ideas and was totally supportive when working with others.

His broad range of interests included political, financial, artistic, and humanitarian. Throughout his life, John devoted much of his time and resources to helping others. He was actively engaged in assisting refugees establish work and homes in this country after they fled their homelands. He also had a lifelong commitment to assisting Native American missions. He participated in the Catholic Church in many capacities, and he was responsible for the introduction of liturgical changes in his final years.

John’s wife, Diane, was a support to him throughout his married life. His sons, John and Michael, and his daughters, Joie Ayala, and Elizabeth Kostelecky, were always a joy to him. He shared his passion for work and life with them, and they carried on that enthusiasm in their own professions.