Date of Birth August 26, 1959
Date Deceased February 26, 2020
Hometown Hornell
Home State N.Y.
Service Date March 7, 2020
Service Time 10 a.m.
Service Location St. Ann's Church, Hornell
Interment Location St. Ann's Cemetery, Hornell

John P. Pollinger, Ph.D.

HORNELL – John P. Pollinger, Ph.D. 60, formerly of Grand Street, passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday (Feb. 26, 2020) at his home in Niskayuna, N.Y.

Born in Hornell on Aug. 26, 1959, he was the son of Richard and Jean (Mary Jean Quartz) Pollinger. He was predeceased by his mother Jean on March 16, 2018.

John lived an extraordinary life. He was a “Top 10” graduate of Hornell High School and National Honor Society Member, class of 1977. He was also a member of the Hornell High Jazz and Marching bands. John was an Eagle Scout and completed his undergraduate studies in Ceramic Science & Engineering at Alfred University and earned his MS and PhD degrees in the same field at Penn State University.

He was most recently employed as a Senior Materials Scientist at General Electric Global Research in Schenectady, N.Y. and served as a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Tropical Research at UCLA. Prior to that, he worked as a Research Scientist in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UCLA. He was also employed by Allied Signal in California and General Motors in Michigan. John’s research took him to exotic locations including the Rain Forests of South America, Central Africa, and the Galapagos Islands. John published extensively in top scientific journals on many topics including ceramic/materials science, and the genetic research of Swine Influenza, Avian Influenza, and migratory behaviors of hummingbirds and wolves.

John maintained a lifelong bond with his twin sister Jennifer and particularly enjoyed their excursions to renowned golf courses. He relished the company and antics of his two Main Coon cats, Elvis and Parker. John, affectionately known as “The Professor” to his siblings, was very knowledgeable on an impressive array of topics. He had a thirst for knowledge and never stopped reading, learning and sharing.

He enjoyed the outdoors, playing golf and observing wildlife. In his younger years he spent days fishing on the lakes with his father, enjoyed a good cigar and a cold beer. John carried on the family tradition of making sauerkraut in the basement of the family home. He was also known for the sage teachings and uniquely fun gifts to his nieces and nephews and was truly revered by them. Most recently he was investigating and documenting the family genealogy.

His family includes his father, Richard H. Pollinger, Sr.; five siblings, twin sister, Jennifer (Steve) Dumont of Groton, MA, Brigid Shipman of Ithaca, N.Y. Richard Jr. “Heinz” (Wendy) Pollinger of Hornell, Pete (Julie) Pollinger of Satellite Beach, FL., and Joseph (Kelli) Pollinger of Arkport; his niece, Nichole (Nathan) Soucy; nephews, Michael Shipman, Neil Shipman, Alex Pollinger, Alex Dumont, Sam and Ben Pollinger; his great-nephews, Owen and Teddy Shipman, Dominic and Jackson Soucy and great-nieces, Julianna Soucy and twin girls, Espen Jean and Ella Ann Shipman; Aunt Marg and Uncle Jerry Secondo of Hornell; also cousins, including the Quinlans, Secondos and Tobins.

The Bishop & Johnson Funeral Home, Inc., in Hornell is honored to serve the family of John P. Pollinger, Ph.D.

Calling hours are 5-7 p.m. Friday (March 6, 2020) at the Bishop & Johnson Funeral Home, Inc., 285 Main St., Hornell. Friends are invited to join his family at St. Ann’s Church, 31 Erie Ave., Hornell where a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Saturday (March 7, 2020). Interment will be in St. Ann’s Cemetery, Hornell.

In lieu of flowers, those wishing may contribute in his memory to the National Geographic Society ( or Kitten Angels, 233 Houseman St., Mayfield, N.Y. 12117. Envelopes for memorial contributions will be available at the funeral home.

Online condolences or remembrances of John are welcomed on the Facebook page of Bishop & Johnson Funeral Home, Inc.

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12 Responses

  1. I will miss John. He joined GE just as I retired, but I consulted with GE and got to know him then. He always had a positive attitude on life and I know he was looking to retire soon. I will miss his calls, seeing him on the golf course, and his passion for Alfred U. My condolences to all of his family. We lost a good one.

  2. I am so sorry to hear of John’s passing. He was so generous with his time helping all of us graduate students in the lab at UCLA. He was a kind and wonderful person and he will be missed.

  3. I’m so sorry to hear of John’s passing, my deepest sympathy to his family. I was lucky to have worked with John @ GE. He was a wonderful teacher, gladly sharing his knowledge and himself. He always enjoyed talking about his family (Golf vacations & Pollinger Sauerkraut!). We have lost a great kind & gentle man. A toast to you John, hope you will teach me when we meet again!

  4. Our deepest sympathies to the Pollinger family. We have many fond memories of the time John spent with us and our many friends at Penn State. We pray that John is at peace in God’s loving embrace.

  5. I attended Alfred U. with John, and was his fraternity brother. He was always a good friend. Please accept my very deepest condolences.

  6. Great sailing companion. Very intelligent. Never forgot what you told him about sailing theory and boat control.

    A truly great person. I will miss seeing him on the visits to California

    RIP, John

  7. John was a friend of my family’s for 60 years, really. The Loree family sends their love and prayers and will miss a most wonderful person. It’s hard to think that he’s gone. His brilliance was overshadowed only by his kindness. I was lucky enough to see him occasionally when he was at UCLA and we had some lovely dinners. There are too many remembrances from our childhood adventures in Hornell, the Adirondacks, the Finger Lakes, and Port Washington to list here, but I’ll always remember his sense of humor and sweet demeanor. Love to all the Pollingers at this incredibly difficult time.

  8. John was one of the smartest, most gifted and accomplished people to ever come out of Hornell and from the Southside no less. From a young age he demonstrated he clearly saw and embraced the “Big Picture”, was well rounded and not a “one ball juggler”, willing to live for the greater good and benefit of others.

    His life was a “tsunami” of accomplishments from start to end. He had faith in God and served with us at St. Ignatius as an altar boy and dedicated communicant there from what I recall and demonstrated faith in mankind in accomplishing his Eagle Scout rank. He was a joy to play in the HHS music programs with as a skilled trombonist and in Crosby, Grand and Canisteo Street sandlot sports. His educational achievements were top tier stellar and he applied it all to the betterment of himself and globally as best he could.

    I always liked John’s humble demeanor and kind nature; he never called me out for foolishness when given many opportunities for such back in the day. He dry sense of humor was one of his trademarks as well. His mind was usually way down the road ahead of everyone else in many ways due to his high level of intelligence. My struggle in that was I always wondered if John or Jennifer was smarter and maybe its a solid tie.

    When I walk around and pass the Penn State campus near where I live, I reflect on that fact this institution has lost one of its truly great sons. His life in earnest is a case study of sorts in how to live an outstanding life with long term impact.

    He leaves a very bid footprint of accomplishments. One cannot say enough good about of the life of this honorable man.

    My deepest condolences om his passing go to his family, relatives, friends and those whose lives were blessed by God by the times and sharings they were priviledged to have with John.

    Godspeed in moving on despite this huge loss. JB

  9. I worked with John for relatively short time but that was sufficient to realize how much he knew about how many things. His range of interests was far greater than mine or of my typical colleague. I also remember him for being remarkably even-tempered, something that is difficult when working in lab where not everything always goes per plan.

  10. John is the brother of a good friend of mine. When he lived in LA, she and I and a couple of our other girlfriends stayed at his lovely home in Huntington Beach. We went out twice from NY, and I could not have needed this time away in the sunshine more. John was an amazing host, as he was with everything he did. We could talk for hours on any number of topics and often did. He holds a big spot in my heart. I am so very sorry to hear of his passing at such a young age, and hope his family is able to cope with his loss. Sending lots of love.

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