John H. Sherman, Jr. – Quartz Crystal Industry Personality 1918 – 2006
John H. Sherman, Jr., a Lynchburg resident since January, 1959, died on April 7, 2006. His death was a consequence of an untreatable liver tumor. He was born at Lewis Gale Hospital on Aug 12, 1918, the son of John H Sherman of Ash Grove, VA and Mary Mosby Stephens Sherman of Christiansburg.
Some of his many contributions to quartz crystal technology are documented in the Proceedings of the Frequency Control Symposium. In 1955 (vacuum tube days) he created the concept of “trim sensitivity,” while working as a components engineer. He then became a Quartz Crystal Engineer and transferred to the General Electric Mobile Radio Division in Lynchburg, Virginia. He worked on crystal resonators, monolithic filters, and surface wave filters. He was dedicated to the application of scientific study to the manufacturing process, to the point of using vacation time and paying his own way to crystal conferences before management saw the value in it. From 1969-1979 he was Chairman of EIA Working Group P5.4, the “EIA Technical Working Group for the Frequency Control Industry.” In 1980 he wrote the first interactive computer program for the design of AT resonators. He continued as a consultant after retiring from GE.
His early education was primarily in the public schools of Illinois. He prepared himself to be a symphony orchestra musician studying French horn with Max Pottag, Alberto Stagliano, and Edward Murphy. He studied conducting with Clarke Kessler and Vladimir Bakaleinikoff.. At the advice of Bakaleinikoff he completed a regular college degree with majors in Mathematics and Chemistry at the University of Tampa.
He was auditioning with the Buffalo Philharmonic when the Army called him and he was appointed first horn of the band at Byrd Field. The Army then reassigned him into the Army specialized training program (ASTP) at Lehigh University. Everyone who completed the course of study in this program was assigned into the Manhattan Engineering District. The ASTP was discontinued before he completed his course and he was assigned to the 3186th Signal Service Battalion in which he saw service in both the European and Far Eastern theaters.
At the end of the war he returned to Lehigh University and completed a Masters degree in Electrical Engineering. After 3 years of teaching he took employment at General Electric Co. in Syracuse NY and spent 29 yrs with GE, 27 of them working with quartz crystal resonators.
In Syracuse he participated in the revitalization of the Syracuse Symphony. When transferred to Lynchburg he was instrumental in the founding of the orchestra which has developed into the Lynchburg Symphony and has played under all six of the music directors of the symphony. He was on the board of Community Concerts for 33 years, President for 21 of them. He served on the board of the Academy of Music before it combined with the Fine Arts Center.
Among his many accomplishments, he was selected Senior Elfun of the Year, awarded the national Piezoelectric Devices Man of the Year, and shot a hole in one on the 5th hole at Oakwood Country Club.
He is survived by his wife, Marie, two daughters, Mary Sherman and Ida Cole, two grandchildren, Dr. Janis Taube (and husband Dr. Alexander Hillel) and H. Joseph Ramagli, III (and fiancée Emily Hornback), and by his sister, Frances Sherman Bailey, of Ridgewood, NJ. Extended family include Susan and Shawn Underwood, Michael Silvester, Matthew Silvester, Dan and Kelly Silvester, Christopher Silvester, Howard J. Ramagli, Jr., and Arthur Caisse.
Memorial gifts may be sent to First Unitarian Church, 818 Court Street, Lynchburg, VA 24504 or Academy of Fine Arts, 600 Main Street, Lynchburg, VA 24504.