He was an enthusiastic wine connoisseur, passionate scuba diver and passionate traveller – his love of wine led to him serving as the North American chapter head for Confrerie Des Chevaliers Du Tastevin.
He leaves behind a legacy that intertwines professional brilliance with deep familial bonds and community involvement.
What Were the Foundations of John’s Early Life and Education?
John was born into a family steeped in scientific and technological innovation. The son of Florence (van Zelm) Sprague and Robert C. Sprague, founder of Sprague Electric Company, John’s upbringing was marked by exposure to the wonders of science and technology.Mr. Whitney Sprague was married for 69 years to Mary-Jane (Jid) Whitney Sprague and was an incredible husband, father, and grandfather who is survived by four of their five children, ten of their grandchildren, and one great-grandson. Their home in Williamstown became the focal point for family gatherings — leaving memories that will last a lifetime for his offspring and grandchildren alike.
How Did John’s Passion for Science and Technology Evolve?
John’s passion for science and technology was evident from his childhood, as he enjoyed experimenting in his room. This curiosity carried through his studies at Princeton and Stanford and into his professional life. His dissertation, “The Nature of Metal to Semiconductor Alloy Junctions,” laid the groundwork for his future endeavors in the semiconductor industry and at Sprague Electric.
What Role Did John Play in the Semiconductor Industry?
Despite initial challenges in entering Silicon Valley, John made significant contributions to the semiconductor industry. His work at Sprague Electric, where he started as a research scientist, led to seminal developments in integrated circuits. John’s leadership and innovation culminated in his role as President and CEO of the company, where he authored nine patents and contributed to the Apollo 11 mission.
What Was John’s Contribution to the Apollo 11 Mission?
John’s ingenuity was instrumental in the creation of a silicon wafer disc carrying messages from 73 world leaders, left on the Moon by the Apollo 11 astronauts. This accomplishment symbolizes the intersection of John’s scientific expertise and his contribution to a momentous event in human history.
How Did John Impact His Local Community?
John’s impact extended beyond the realms of science and technology. In the North Adams area, Sprague Electric was the largest employer, and its facilities are now home to MASS MoCA, the country’s largest contemporary art museum. John’s influence is thus woven into the cultural fabric of the community.
What Was John’s Life Like After Retirement?
Post-retirement, John founded a consulting firm that offered strategic and operational support to technology companies. His passion for history led him to write about his grandfather, Frank J. Sprague, the “Father of Electric Traction,” and his father’s legacy in Sprague Electric. His contributions to literature include a book about the Confrérie Des Chevaliers Du Tastevin.
How Did John Enjoy His Personal Life and Hobbies?
John’s personal life was rich with diverse interests.He was an enthusiastic wine enthusiast, an active scuba diver and passionate traveller – his love of wine inspired him to head up the North American chapter of Confrerie Des Chevaliers Du Tastevin.
John’s adventurous spirit was evident in his numerous travels with his family, including trips to Africa, China, and Antarctica.
What Was the Essence of John’s Family Life?
John’s family was central to his life. Mary-Jane (Jid) Whitney Sprague was his beloved partner for 69 years; their life together created lasting memories for their four children, 10 grandchildren and one great-grandson. Their home in Williamstown served as an oasis for family gatherings bringing them all closer together as family units bonded through generations.
What Are the Details of John’s Funeral Services?
Dr. John L. Sprague, Sr.’s funeral services will be held at 11 am on July 13th at St John’s Episcopal Church in Williamstown, MA. The services will be live-streamed, allowing those who cannot attend in person to partake in honoring John’s memory.
How Can People Contribute to John’s Memory?
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Williamstown Rural Lands and St. John’s Episcopal Church. These contributions will support causes that were dear to John, continuing his legacy of community involvement and passion for nature and spirituality.
Dr. John L. Sprague, Sr.’s life was a tapestry of scientific achievements, a deep love for family, and a commitment to community and nature.As we commemorate him, we remember and commemorate a life which not only led to significant scientific advancements but also inspired those he encountered through passions, love and wisdom. His legacy will continue to impact future generations.