Joe R Engle
Philanthropist and businessman
Born: January 26, 1922 in Coshocton, Ohio, United States.
Died: January 17, 2010, in New York City, aged 87.
JOE R Engle was an American millionaire businessman and philanthropist who never forgot his Scottish Presbyterian roots.
The great grandson of farmers James and Elizabeth Stark, of Langlees, Biggar, Lanarkshire, he was to all intents a self-made man. But, deeply religious, he believed inherited wealth was destructive and maintained that we all have to make our own way in the world and there is no such thing as a self-made man or woman.
"God proffers us certain gifts and it is our responsibility to use them," he wrote in his autobiography, penned two years ago.
As a result he pledged to leave all of his fortune to charity.
Born in Coshocton, Ohio, more than a century after his great grandparents emigrated to the US from Leith, he came from humble beginnings to amass multi-million dollar riches, much of which he had already given away by the time of his death. The son of Perry and Georgia Engle, he was an engineering graduate of Ohio State University, where he sat on the Ohio State Foundation Board until his death, and had a masters degree in business administration from Harvard Business School.
He served in the US navy on a military landing ship during the Second World War and was a salesman for Goodyear in 1947. He was a manufacturer's representative for his entire business career, during which he developed a metal sheet perforation technique which he patented to great financial advantage and which is used in car manufacturing to lighten the weight of vehicles.
Buying and selling companies, he encountered one firm trying to patent a sealing agent for nuts and bolts. He and others bought the company and, when it was found that the substance was also a rapidly-working adhesive, the first superglue, Loctite, was born in Connecticut in 1956.
The following year, Engle married his first wife, Claire, an actress, in Massachusetts. They divorced in 1973. In October 1974 he married a widow with five grown-up children whose husband had been one of his good friends. That marriage lasted only a year.
But it was through his interest in organ music – he regarded the organ as king of instruments – that he met his third wife, Elizabeth, in St Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh.
It was sheer serendipity when, during a business trip to Europe he decided, on the foggy morning of Saturday, 30 September, 1978, to visit the cathedral to see where John Knox had preached. One of the elders, Elizabeth, a widow, was arranging flowers for a service when he asked where the organ console was located. After a chat he asked her out to dinner. She turned him down, suggesting afternoon tea at her house in Ettrick Road instead. That afternoon she agreed to dinner provided she was home by 9pm. Engle duly obliged and later declared: "It turned out to be the best day of my life."
Supper the next night was followed by a long-distance romance during which Engle returned to Scotland 14 times over 18 months. The couple were married in St Giles' on Independence Day, 4 July, 1980, and retained a flat in North Bank Street at the top of The Mound.
But red tape denied Elizabeth and her son, Graham, now Dr Barr, entry to the US for another 18 months, during which time her husband's financial details had to be supplied. Engle recalled: "The clerk looked at my financial data and asked her whether I had robbed a bank."
His other great interest was theological education. He endowed three chairs in homiletics at Princeton Theological Seminary and another at Union Theological Seminary in New York, serving on the board there for nine years.
At Princeton's Seminary, to which he gave $8.7 million over 12 years, he also endowed the Joe R Engle Institute of Preaching.
In 2007 he set up a $10 million scholarship fund for students from Coshocton County to attend Ohio State University.
Elizabeth Engle's cousin John Guy, of North Berwick, said: "He was an extremely devout Christian and he was a friend of Africans in the US in the 1940s and 50s, long before it became fashionable.
"He did not suffer fools and he detested people who lived passively; who did not make their own way in the world. He admired resourcefulness and energy and he was very energetic."
Engle, who had been suffering from prostate cancer for many years, spent vast amounts on treatment and was on an experimental programme at Cornell University, New York. He acknowledged: "It will not go away, I will be fighting it forever."
But he added: "I have been blessed with a wonderful life which has been beyond my wildest imagination."
He is survived by his wife, stepson, sister and nephew.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 12 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: East