Cover photo for John Gustave Bollinger's Obituary
John Gustave Bollinger Profile Photo
1935 John 2022

John Gustave Bollinger

May 28, 1935 — April 7, 2022

Professor John G. Bollinger was born in Grand Forks, North Dakota to parents Charlotte and Elroy Bollinger. John spent much of his childhood sailing on Long Island, New York. As an adult, John traveled the world sailing, giving lectures, and attending professional events. John spent his last days at peace on the ocean with his wife of 66 years and partner in adventure, Heidi.

John, a lifelong learner, began his education at Manhasset High School in Long Island. As a teen, he was awarded a full scholarship to Juliard School of Music for his talent playing the trumpet. He then received his BS in Mechanical Engineering at University of Wisconsin - Madison(1957), MS in Mechanical Engineering at Cornell University (1958), and PhD at University of Wisconsin – Madison (1961). John then continued his love for education as a professor of Engineering at University of Wisconsin – Madison. In July of 1982, John was elected Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Throughout his career, John was recognized in several ways; as a Fullbright Fellow (Machine Tools and Industrial Organization Institute, 1962), Fullbright Fellow (Cranfield Institute of Technology, 1981), and was elected a lifetime member of National Academy of Engineering (1983). In addition to these accomplishments, John served on the Board of Directors for Kohler Company, Cummins Corporation, Gleason Corporation, Nicolet, Berbee Information Systems, Andrew Corporation, Rexnord Corporation, Cross and Trecker Corporation, EforM Corporation, Marquette Medical Systems, Bemis Company Incorporated, Unico Incorporated.

In addition to his professional accomplishments, John is remembered by his family as a loving, inspiring and devoted husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. His generosity created ripples that positively impacted the hearts, minds and ideas of those around him. His dedication for teaching his family about the world, creating space for passionate conversation and organizing "Sunday Family Dinner" will always be remembered and missed.

John's love for sailing spanned through his lifetime, beginning as a competitive sailor at 9 years old. John was a founding member of the UW Madison Hoofers Sailing Team in 1954, and spent years with his family doing competitive racing at Lake Mendota Yacht Club on their boat "Theory". John spent years living on or chartering boats around the world, including his personal boats the "Freogan", "Raven" and the barge, "Sirius". In his retirement, John loved his life living on the ocean in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico and Orange Beach, Alabama.

John is preceded in death by his parents: Charlotte and Elroy Bollinger; and his sister: Ann-Marie Smith. John is survived by his wife, Heidi Bollinger; his children: William 'Bill' Bollinger, Kristin 'Kiki' Bollinger (Fred Levenhagan), Pamela Andringa (Conrad 'Jeff'); his grandchildren: Curtis Bollinger (Chelsea), Alyssa Neuser (Kyle), Cameron Rosen (Michael), Drew Bollinger, Sarah Schlough (Jason), John Byce (Nakita Raghunath), Casey, Jesse, and Heidi Andringa; and his great-grandchildren Liam and Amara Bollinger, Leif and Ruby Neuser, and Sadie, Lily, and John Schlough.

John's legacy will live on through words often spoken in his classroom and at the dinner table, "How can we do it better?!"

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