John  Mooney

Obituary of John J Mooney

John J. Mooney, 90, of Wyckoff, passed away on Tuesday, June 16, 2020. John grew up in Paterson, New Jersey, where he attended St. Georges Grammar School and then St. Joseph's High School, graduating in 1947. After graduating from high school, John spent ten years working for the Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G) while attending Seton Hall University, where he completed his Bachelor of Science degree in 1954. That same year he married the love of his life. He spent the next year with the United States Army. While serving in the United States Army from 1954 to 1956, John Mooney was assigned to a series of nuclear tests in the Pacific Ocean at Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands, which included 17 atom bomb and two hydrogen bomb tests. John was as close as 7½ miles from fission bomb tests. After serving the US Army, and returning to his most beloved wife and newborn child, John continued his education. He continued at Newark College of Engineering (now New Jersey Institute of Technology), where he earned a Master of Science in Chemical Engineering in 1960. John Mooney also earned an MBA in marketing from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 1992 while working at Engelhard. John was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree (honoris causis) in 2007 by his alma mater New Jersey Institute of Technology for his outstanding achievements in the fields of environmental protection and automotive engineering John Mooney came to Engelhard in 1960, after graduate school, as a result of a connection made in an electrochemical engineering course. He worked at the company's Gas Equipment Division. John Mooney, Carl Keith and their team at Engelhard are credited with the development of the first production catalytic converter in 1973. The three-way catalyst developed by them allowed all three exhaust pollutants (hydrocarbon, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides) to be remedied using a single catalyst bed. In 2002, John Mooney and Dr. Keith received The National Medal of Technology and Innovation for the invention of the 3-way catalytic converter. This is an honor granted by the President of the United States to American inventors and innovators who have made significant contributions to the development of new and important technology. John Mooney’s invention of the three-way catalytic converter has not only spared the environment billions of tons of automobile exhaust pollutants since its introduction in the mid-1970s; it’s saved lives. An Environmental Protection Agency report, for example, estimated Mooney’s invention helped save 100,000 lives and stave off hundreds of thousands of cases of throat and lung ailments. As President of the Environmental and Energy Technology and Policy Institute, Mooney has worked with the Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles of the United Nations Environment Program to help end the use of leaded gasoline throughout the world. As of 2002, there were 51 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa in which leaded gasoline was still in use. By responding to issues of valve seat recession, and showing that lead in gasoline did not help solve the problem, Mooney was part of an effort that had 50 of these 51 countries in Africa ban leaded gasoline by the end of 2006. Dr. Mooney was awarded a total of 17 patents and was elected a Fellow of Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) in 1990. John retired as the firm’s technical director in 2002, before starting the Environmental and Energy Technology and Policy Institute, a not-for-profit company through which he has worked with the United Nations Environmental Program on the Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles. He has authored or co-authored more than 70 publications, and he holds 17 U.S. patents. He was a founding member of the North Jersey Whiz Skiers of which four generations of his family are currently involved. He was a member of the ski patrol at Mad River Glen and conducted their health and safety training practice events. John was a nature lover and fitness enthusiast and passed that onto the people in his life. Being part of nature improves your mental and emotional health, getting outside clears your brain, pollution hurts the earth and hurts humanity. These were not just things he said but behaviors that he lived by and passed on to all of us that knew him. He was a devout Catholic and faithfully attended church well into his 70’s (come rain or shine, on vacation or up in Vermont). He also taught CCD classes at The Church of the Nativity. John was always active in neon yellow or his Grandad’s Crew shirts and will be missed by all of the neighbors whom he greeted on his daily walks. John is survived by his loving wife of 65 years, Claire. John will be missed by his children, John D. Mooney, Marybeth (Tomasz) Stachowiak, Noreen (Richard, predeceased) Dominguez, Kathleen (Michael Goldberg) Mooney, Elizabeth (Brian) Convery, and Baby Susan, who predeceased him. He will always be loved by “Grandad’s Crew”: Michael (Noreen), Kaitlyn (Daniel), David (Mary Kate), Joseph, Sean (Heather), Brianne (Sam), Ryan, Brian, Eric, Megan (West), Brendan, Kevin, Evan, and Katherine. These kids “will always call him GREAT”: Jacob, Saoirse, Fox, Max, Conor, and two more will join the crew soon. He is also survived by his sister Kathleen Heintz and his sister-in-law Diane Mooney. Above all, John was a family man. For him, family always came first and last in all things. A visitation will be held on Thursday, June 18, 2020 from 4pm-7pm at Vander Plaat Funeral Home, Wyckoff, NJ. Due to the Covid 19 Situation, please wear a mask and follow social distancing guidelines. A funeral mass will be held on Friday, June 19, 2020 at The Church of the Nativity, Midland Park, NJ with a burial to follow at Maryrest Cemetery. Due to the restrictions, the mass and burial will be limited to immediate friends and family. If you would like to share a memory of John or send condolences to the family, please visit our Tribute Wall on the Vander Plaat Funeral Home web site, Thank you for your understanding and patience during this time. In lieu of flowers, donations in John’s memory can be made to The Tommy Knox Memorial Foundation, P.O. Box 490, Basking Ridge, NJ 07920 or Valley Hospice, 15 Essex Rd, Paramus, NJ 07652. _____ John Mooney The man, the inspiration "If you don't think there's a solution, then you just haven't asked the right question," " Connecting the 2's is the ability to put two randomly seeming events or pieces of data together and have an ah ha moment" “There are things in my mind I need to get done before my time is up that will better humanity” These are just a few statements that come to mind when I think of my father in law John Mooney. I met John when I was 19 years old and my girlfriend Kathleen thought I needed to come spend a Christmas with the family. That was 39 years ago. Well, Christmas with the Mooney’s was unlike any Christmas I had ever spent before. The first thing that was apparent was these series of family traditions. One that stuck out was they needed to have a real tree and this year the tree was so big I did not see how it would ever fit inside the house. John being the engineer, had a solution, the tree was wrapped with cord so the width would fit through the doorway, he could cut off part of the top so it would fit in between the floor and the ceiling. So, we went to town bringing the Godzilla tree into the house. While bringing the tree in, the tree knocked the front porch post off the center and it looked like the porch was going to come down. Luckily it didn’t but the post had to be re-supported. Did this bother John? No. He was happy to get the tree in, set it up in the room and continue getting the house together for the holiday. The big picture was the holiday not the porch post. John Mooney was a big picture thinker with big picture ideas and did not let the day to day issues derail his vision of what things could be. He found intrigue in events that could cause a “normal person” anger. While staying at our house many years ago while Kathy and I were on a vacation, Ryan, my oldest son, thought it would be a great idea to practice hitting golf balls in the back yard. Now before we left, we specifically told Ryan NOT to do that, he will break a window. Not a few minutes after we left, Ryan took out the golf club, put a ball on tee and chipped the ball smack dead center into the middle of the glass that was on the back door. The glass was safety glass and proceeded to spider web crack from dead center to the edges but did not shatter. John thought the shattered spider web cracks were just so cool and interesting and was excited to show us what happened when we returned. John would have left that window in its spiderweb condition forever marveling at the design and emotionally connected to the event that created it. I appreciated his excitement but did not share his vision so with funds provided by my son Ryan, we replaced the glass. John was a nature lover and fitness enthusiast and passed that onto the people in his life. Being part of nature improves your mental and emotional health, getting outside clears your brain, pollution hurts the earth and hurts humanity. These were not just things he said but behaviors that he lived by and passed on to all of us that knew him. John loved science and being an Engineer. He passed that love of science on to the family. Just look at the professions that we undertook; most of us are in science. From a personal development perspective, as an engineer you must be a creative thinker, problem solver, communicator, and team player. These are all great, but the main reason John Mooney loved engineering is because being an engineer your projects benefit societies around the globe, and he did that in a spectacular manner. Although John Mooney is no longer of this physical world, he will always be with us in spirt. His love of life, science, humanity, adventure, and guiding wisdom has been deposited on everyone that crossed his path and listened to what he had to say. Personally, I hear Johns voice and guidance inside my head when I am driving, facing a problem, riding my bicycle, skiing, hiking taking part in many of the activities that we shared together over the years. John was exceptional and we are all the better for knowing him or sharing his DNA. ___________ Please video below shows John J. Mooney receiving the R&D Council of NJ 2014 Medal for Science & Technology honoring John's contributions to the invention of the Three-way catalytic converter.


4:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Thursday, June 18, 2020
Vander Plaat Funeral Home
257 Godwin Avenue
Wyckoff, New Jersey, United States
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