LEVERKUSEN, Germany—Gunter Oertel, considered a pioneer of polyurethane chemistry, has passed away at his home in Leverkusen. He was 81.
Oertel began his professional career at Bayer in 1958 under Otto Bayer. In 1971, he was given responsibility at the company for research and in 1972 for technical marketing. One year later, he was appointed Director of Polyurethane Applications Technology.
"(Oertel) was a man who will always have my greatest respect, and his contributions to our industry and society are huge," said Patrick Thomas, CEO of Bayer MaterialScience L.L.C., who worked closely with him during his time as president of the European Isocyanate Producers Association from 1989-94.
The United Kingdom Plastic and Rubber Institute honored him with the Medal of Merit for his service to the polyurethanes industry. In 2003, Oertel, who was already retired, was inducted into the Polyurethane Hall of Fame in the U.S. in recognition of his achievements and successes.
Oertel summed up his professional career in one chapter of the book "The Inventor Company," which the Bayer Group published this year in celebration of its 150th anniversary: "There is probably something made of the material our team developed in every home and every car in the world: Mattresses, refrigerators, bumpers, steering wheels, dashboards and shoes. It is a pleasant feeling to be able to look back on it all at the end of my life."