John R. Kreick, 75 a Nashua resident of 50 years, prominent businessman, community leader and, most importantly, dedicated family man, died peacefully at his home, surrounded by his family, on Sunday, October 20, 2019.
John was born in Marshfield, Wisconsin on September 22, 1944 and was the son of the late Betty Kreick and Raymond Kreick, a proud veteran of WWII.
John was, first and foremost, a dedicated family man and leaves behind his high school sweetheart and wife of 54 years, Carol.
In addition, John leaves his three sons, Bradley Kreick and his wife Beth Kreick, Jeffrey Kreick and his wife Kim Kreick and John (“JR”). He also leaves his adoring grandchildren, Zoe and Marleigh, and his “adopted” grandchildren Neil and Erica Lilley, their children and several nieces and nephews.
John’s life was guided by a humble, genuine and principled character rooted in his Midwest upbringing. He grew up in Battle Creek, Michigan alongside his sister, Maureen, and brother George, and graduated from Battle Creek Central High School near the top of his graduating class in 1962.
John spent his freshmen year in college at MIT and then returned to his home state and received a bachelor’s degree in physics from his beloved University of Michigan in 1965. He worked at the university’s Space Physics Research Laboratory, became a Rackham Graduate Fellow, received a master’s degree in physics from Michigan in 1966, and a doctorate in theoretical physics from the University of Michigan in 1969.
Shortly after receiving his doctorate, John and his young family relocated to Nashua. Driven by a unique appreciation and understanding of the value of playing the long game, he enjoyed a distinguished 28 year career of achievement with Sanders, the only company for which he ever worked. He joined the company in 1969 as a research physicist and finished his career as the company’s President from 1988 to 1998, guiding the organization through one of the most turbulent times in the defense industry. John received 9 patents for the development of infrared and electro-optical systems and countermeasures during his career. He was a 1993 recipient of the Electronic Warfare Association’s highest award, the Gold Medal of Electronic Warfare, and in 1994, received Aviation Week Magazine’s Aerospace Laurels Award for long term contributions to electronics. He received the 1996 New Hampshire Distinguished Citizens Award from Boy Scouts of America, and in 1998 the Citizen of the Year Award from the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce.
Never one to sit still for very long, after his retiring from Sanders in 1998, John quickly transitioned into his second career as an active Board member and philanthropist. From 1998 through 2010, he served on numerous corporation boards including Southern New Hampshire Medical Center, EMS Technology and served as Chairman of the Board of both Draper Labs and Pennichuck Water Works. Notably, his family’s forty-year affiliation with Rivier University included his active Board service for seventeen years, during which he was credited with helping to chart a course of financial stability and vitality that remains a hallmark of Rivier to this day. In recognition of his leadership and service in addition to his contributions to Rivier University, he was awarded an honorary degree from the University in 2010.
Aptly nicknamed Buddha by friends and family, John was universally respected as a man whose quiet wisdom, steady hand and humble nature belied his sometimes intimidating presence. He was a man of few words, but he chose his words carefully and made them count.
He was an avid member of Michigan’s Big Blue nation and loved his University of Michigan football team. He loved his summers on Lake Winnipesaukee enjoying the simple pleasures of captaining the family boat for endless waterskiing rides, manning the grill during family cookouts, and late night card games, but more than anything in life, he loved his family.
Big John was the husband who encouraged his wife Carol to pursue her education and career, the dad who never missed a game his kids played in and the grandfather who rarely missed a game or event in which his grandkids were a part. He was always available as a caring and patient listener to his family and wise counsel will continue to guide their lives in his absence.
He passed from this world as he lived his life - entirely on his terms and at peace with the fact he left the world a better place than he found it and knowing he had earned the love and respect of his family and all those he came into contact with.
SERVICES: Visiting hours will be held on Monday, October 28th from 4pm – 8pm at the Davis Funeral Home, 1 Lock St. in Nashua St. A funeral service will take place on Tuesday, October 29th at 10am in the First Church Nashua, UCC, 1 Concord St in Nashua. In lieu of flowers, the family encourages you to make a charitable donation to Rivier University’s Kreick Family Scholarship Fund, 420 S Main St, Nashua, NH 03060 established by John and Carol to support adult learners seeking a pathway to degree completion. An online guest-book is available at www.davisfuneralhomenh.com. (603) 883-3401. “ONE MEMORY LIGHTS ANOTHER”.
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