Jack & Jean D. Wilson Fund
The Jack & Jean D. Wilson Fund was established by the family to make recommendations for grants to various charitable organizations serving the greater Lehigh Valley. John D. “Jack” Wilson, 94, Pioneer of the Life Sciences Industry, passed away on April 6, 2020. Jean D. Wilson passed away on January 18, 2018.
Gifts to the Fund can be made by submitting a check, payable to the Jack & Jean D. Wilson Fund, to the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation, 840 West Hamilton Street, Suite 310, Allentown, PA 18101. Gifts can also be made via credit card by clicking the PayPal link below. A PayPal account is not required to make an online gift to the Fund.
About Jean D. Wilson
Jean Ann DeVoe Wilson, 87, of Mertztown, passed away on Thursday, January 18, 2018 in Lehigh Valley Hospital, Salisbury Township. Born in Corning, New York, Jean was the only child of the late John DeVoe and Mabel (O’Dell) DeVoe. She was a graduate of Corning Free Academy, Corning ,NY, where she was an outstanding athlete. Jean was the New York State leading high school basketball scorer for two consecutive years, and a part of the State Championship team. Jean was also a great dancer, and met her future husband, John D. “Jack” Wilson also from Corning, and a Yale graduate, at local a dance. The couple married on December 5, 1953 in a rectory of an Episcopalian church in Corning, NY. Early in Jean’s career, she worked at Corning Glass Works, nearby her home. She was also a Y.M.C.A swimming coordinator for many years in the mid 1960’s. In 1961, Jack and Jean purchased a 100 acre farm in Mertztown, after having leased a farm in East Texas for three years.
She helped her husband in the founding of the company ABEC INC., starting it at their farm in Mertztown, PA, in 1974. ABEC INC is an international award winning biotech manufacturing and services company, with 600 plus employees, headquartered in Bethlehem, PA. Her husband, Jack, Founder and Chairman, was inducted into the Lehigh Valley Business Hall of Fame in 2014. Jean worked alongside of Jack and was actively involved in the company. Jean served as the company’s secretary and office manager for many years. Jean was a very generous woman with her time and money. She loved working with rescue dogs and supporting the Animal Rescue League of Reading. She also donated to various veteran’s charities and organizations, the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation and Meals on Wheels Association of America. She served as the Executive Producer on a Sundance film entitled “The Painting Race Horse” – The Documentary. Jean loved to Dance was a good at it! She also loved geese and deer and didn’t want anyone to hunt them.
Jean is survived by her husband of 64 years, Jack; her children, Terri Ann Wilson, and her husband, Gary, Mesa, AZ, Steve DeVoe Wilson, and his wife, Shawnee, of Kutztown, PA, Julie Lynn Wilson, and her husband, David, of Stroudsburg, PA, Paula Jean Wilson, of Mertztown, PA, and Susan Lee Wilson, and her husband, Thad, Austin, TX; her five grandchildren, Nicole, Tala, Renee, Issac and Nathaniel; and her cousin, Sherrill Johnston, and her husband, Mike and their sons, Chris and Scott. She will also be sorely missed by her Jack Russell, Max, short for Machu.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions be made in Jean’s memory to The Lehigh Valley Foundation, c/o Jack and Jean Wilson Fund, 840 West Hamilton Street, Suite 310, Allentown, PA 18101 or online at www.lehighvalleyfoundation.org/WilsonFund or Wild Lands Conservancy, 3701 Orchid Place, Emmaus, PA 18049 or online at www.wildlandspa.org. Ludwick Funeral Homes, Inc., Kutztown, is in charge of arrangements. Memories and condolences may be shared at www.Ludwickfh.com.
About Jack Wilson
John D. “Jack” Wilson, 94, Pioneer of the Life Sciences Industry, passed away on Monday, April 6, 2020 in his Longswamp Township, PA, residence. He was the devoted husband of Jean Ann DeVoe Wilson, who passed away on January 18, 2018. The couple married on December 5, 1953 in a rectory of an Episcopalian church in Corning, NY.
Born in Corning, New York, Jack was a son of the late Paul and Lois (Schomper) Wilson. He was a graduate of Corning Free Academy, Corning, NY, and attended the prestigious Yale University, New Haven, CT, where he completed coursework towards a bachelor’s degree in naval engineering and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. He was the class Valedictorian. Jack was an outstanding baseball pitcher and third basemen in both high school and college. He also played for a pro team in Venezuela. Jack served in The United States Navy during World War II. Hailed for his expertise in bioengineering, Mr. Wilson began his career with the singular aim of making valuable contributions to society.
Utilizing his newfound qualifications, Mr. Wilson launched a career as an engineer in the late 1940s. Shortly thereafter, he was recognized for his sales potential and appointed to various management positions within the field. Mr. Wilson eventually found a way to combine his industry knowledge with his business acumen when he assumed the role of president of Fermentation Design. In 1961, Jack and his wife, Jean purchased a 100-acre farm in Mertztown, after having leased a farm in East Texas for three years. At the dawn of the biotech era in the 1970s, Mr. Wilson saw an opportunity to become an innovation leader in bioprocess engineering and equipment design. Jack was the Founder and Chairman of the company ABEC INC., starting it at their farm in Mertztown, PA, in 1974. ABEC INC is an international award-winning biotech manufacturing and services company, with 600 plus employees, headquartered in Bethlehem, PA, who always stayed ahead of their competition.
Jack worked tirelessly to bring new and exciting innovations to market. Among his most notable inventions was the first commercial computer-controlled fermenter in the world, which is still in operation today at the Institute for Protein Synthesis in Moscow. In addition, he was credited with designing and building a production facility for TPA, a surgical anti-clotting factor that became the world’s first commercially successful mammalian cell produced product. ABEC has achieved similar milestones over the course of many decades, including development of the first automated production fermenters in the 1970s, the first production scale cell culture bioreactors in the 1980s, and the first large scale cell culture bioreactors in the 1990s. Since then, Mr. Wilson has obtained three patents in the control and instrumentation field and has authored several papers and textbook chapters relevant to his industry expertise. Likewise, ABEC has continued to flourish as a leader in delivering integrated process solutions and services for manufacturing in the biopharmaceutical industry. The company has become a household name to the majority of the world’s biopharmaceutical and biotech companies, which have come to rely on ABEC for the highest quality bioprocess services and integrated solutions. At the helm of ABEC Inc., Jack maintained responsibility for all aspects of business operations, as well as marketing, training, manufacturing and building the company. Alongside his wife Jean, he established The Jack and Jean D. Wilson Founders of ABEC INC Endowment for Health Sciences and Nursing at Cedar Crest College in Allentown, PA.
For his professional efforts, Mr. Wilson was presented with the 2010 Export Achievement Award from the U.S. Department of Commerce, which was presented by U.S. Senator Bob Casey at ABEC. Further, in recognition of his commitment to both customers and employees alike, he was named Pennsylvania Employer of the Year in 2013 and inducted into the Lehigh Valley Business Hall of Fame in 2014. He credits his own achievements and those of ABEC to his late wife, who was his beacon of inspiration, and an equal contributor to the founding and success of ABEC.
Most recently, Mr. Wilson was the subject of a memoir, titled “We’ll Think of Something: the Life of Jack Wilson,” which was released in 2017. Within the publication, he shares countless anecdotes inspired by his own life and work in an effort to aid the innovators of tomorrow.
Jack is survived by his children, Terri Ann Wilson, and her husband, Gary, Mesa, AZ, Steve DeVoe Wilson, and his wife, Shawnee, of Kutztown, PA, Julie Lynn Wilson, and her husband, David, of Stroudsburg, PA, Paula Jean Wilson, of Mertztown, PA, and Susan Lee Wilson, and her husband, Thad, Austin, TX; and six grandchildren, Nicole, Tala, Rene’, Issac, Nathaniel and Pinky.
Published in Morning Call on Apr. 8, 2020
John D. “Jack” Wilson, Pioneer of the Life Sciences Industry | His company, ABEC’s is mission is to be the premier global supplier of custom, integrated process solutions for manufacturing in the life sciences industry. Learn more at: http://www.abec.com/index.html