Jack Meakem

May 27, 1936September 14, 2013
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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


  • Calling Hours Friday, September 20, 2013
  • Funeral Service Saturday, September 21, 2013
  • Burial Saturday, September 21, 2013

Jack Meakem

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Jim Buckley

December 4, 2013

I am sorry to hear of Jack's death from the Chi Psi magazine that came today. What a great rowing coach he was. His race strategy of getting ahead and staying ahead never failed our undefeated freshman lightweight crew that he coached in 1959. Another factor that helped us was that in the early spring, Jack slept in the boathouse so he could get up every couple of hours to run the launch up and down the inlet to break up the ice so the crews could get out on the lake. Jack was a great coach, great human being and an important mentor to me. I still row largely because of Jack.

September 26, 2013

Dear Diane and family, Ed and I were so sorry to read of Jack's passing. :I will always remember his warm smile and happy greeting. I know your wonderful family will be of great comfort to you now. You are in our thoughts and prayers. .
Anne and Ed Barber (Greenwich,Ct.)

Marion Meakem

September 23, 2013

As my husband John, three children and I were driving home yesterday after the funeral, I was reflecting on how very lucky I am to be part of such an extraordinary family. We are all very different, and yet we share this amazing bond of love and respect that has always been nourished by my exceptional parents-in-law. Not only was I accepted into the Meakem family by Mom and Dad, I was embraced, both literally and figuratively. Dad, I will truly miss our conversations, though we disagreed quite a bit. I have learned a lot from you: To look at things from different angles. To persevere. To emphasize the similarities rather than the differences. And to drive a golf cart.

But Dad … soccer really IS more exciting than watching grass grow.

Rest in peace. We miss you tremendously. And thank you for everything.

Your loving daughter-in-law

Tom Guise

September 22, 2013

JACK hired me in 1965 to work in the Vicks summer sales program. This led to a career in marketing. Thank you, Jack.

September 21, 2013

Diane: We are so sorry to hear of Jack's passing. Please know that you and the entire family are in our thoughts.

Andy and Jane Cahn

Tom and Shirley Itin

September 21, 2013

Jack, we will always cherish our much in common Cornell Sports, ILR, Johnson, Human Ecology and Quill and Dagger..and the entrepreneurial spirit. You are sorely missed.. Our condolences to Diane and the family

Tom and Shirley Itin

September 21, 2013

Shirley and I will always cherish our relationship with you and Diane. A sad loss for us all.. We shared ILR, Johnson and Human Ecology.. You were an inspiration to so many whose lives you touched. You had an entrepreneurial drive to be emulated..and it was by your family and many others.

Maggie OConnell

September 20, 2013

Heartfelt sympathy to all the family at Jacks passing . Such fond memeories of the fun times with you and Diane , including us in "family' events,and the time at APPharma . So often in my thoughts and deeply saddened by the news of Jacks death . Love and hugs xoxo

September 20, 2013

Jack, I will miss you so much. You were one of the most generous and kind- hearted individuals that I ever met. You were a great boss, a mentor, a good friend and above all a great human being. Diane, my heartfelt condolences to you and the family. May his soul rest in peace. My prayers are with you during this difficult time.

Subhash "Sax" Saxena (Ringoes, NJ)

Lori Papa

September 20, 2013

Mr. Meakem,
It was a blessing to of had you as a mentor for the last 11 years. A true genelman as well as a wonderful person. I will miss all the great advice and direction you gave me, My heart goes out to Mrs. Meakem and your family, I know they will miss you terribly. You were such a loving , caring and wonderful father, rest in peace Mr. Meakem and God Bless. Lori Papa , Jupiter Florida