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Fred Jack Hartley

July 12, 1928 January 2, 2018
Fred Jack Hartley
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Obituary for Fred Jack Hartley

Fred Jack Hartley, who died early on January 2nd, at the age of 89, was one of a special group of Americans who applied strong patriotic beliefs and creative skills to the tasks of developing its post war strength and global business reach.

As a sales engineer his applications engineering skills helped to make many Cold War programs a success, including the B-58 bomber and the Apollo moon program. He supported a network of suppliers scattered along the east coast by flying his own airplane to meetings. These invariably concluded with Jack taking the customer for a ride, and receiving an order.

Too young to join the US military in World War II, he nevertheless tried to enlist, only to have his efforts discovered by his parents. The dream of flying in combat, achieved by his older brother Al, never died. He learned how to fly at the earliest opportunity, and soloed while still in his teens. As a student at St John’s Military Academy in Wisconsin he was a member of the flying club and continued to fly with the Civil Air Patrol when he returned to his home state of New Jersey. He flew well into his 70’s and his logbooks document the thousands of hours he spent in the air. His favorite plane to fly was a Ryan PT-17.

Born in Kearny, New Jersey, on July 12, 1928, he was educated at St John’s Military Academy where he played football and baseball, and excelled on the crew team. Smaller than most of the men in the boat, he caught the coach’s attention off the water as well, scheduling his morning run to pass the coach’s house as he was leaving for work. In the summer, he and his brother Al would live on their father’s Chris Craft in Raritan Bay and the Atlantic.

His love of the water continued through his later years sailing in Florida on his sailboat and joining the crew of an eight on the Delaware River.

Jack’s business career started in the nascent electronics industry, after a brief flirtation with
farming. Much of his hired career was with the Bowmar Corporation, where he was involved as a supplier to most of the major aerospace contractors of the day. He later went on to North
American Philips where he worked in the subminiature lighting division, during which he gained knowledge and contacts within the industry in the US, Europe, and most notably, Asia. At this time Japan was the leading producer of lighting for flashlights, aircraft instruments, and other applications. Jack retired at the ripe age of 50 but started the Bright Light Company and
developed new designs, including krypton and xenon filled subminiature lamps. Expecting the
historically strong dollar to sink, he pioneered the manufacture of high performance products in China. He also foresaw the revolution of LED lighting, securing patents and subsequent
licensing agreements, and developing the first commercial LED flashlight as a consultant to

Jack’s faith was an important part of his life. He was a member of several churches throughout
his life and was willing to serve wherever his talents were needed. Two days before his death,
his daughter asked him what his favorite hymn was. Without hesitation he replied, “Blessed
Assurance” and it a comfort to those who loved him that he was confident that he would be in
the presence of his savior when his time on earth was ended.

The son of the late Congressman Fred A Hartley, Jr. and Hazel Roemer Hartley, Jack is survived by his sister, Hazel Lorraine Spencer of Lebanon, New Jersey, his three children Ann of Ft Myers, Florida, Scott of Greenwich, New York, Jack, of Venice, California, and beloved granddaughter Ibby, of Santa Monica, California. His devoted wife of 65 years, Virginia, predeceased him in 2016.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Hope Hospice, 9470 Health Park Circle, Ft. Myers, FL 33908, or Friendship Grace Brethren Church, 10521 Metro Parkway No.116, Ft. Myers, FL 33966.

Graveside services will be held Saturday, February 3, 2018, at 12 Noon in Newell Cemetery, Stanton, NJ, under the direction of the Holcombe-Fisher Funeral Home, 147 Main Street, Flemington, NJ.

For further information or to send an online condolence, please visit

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12:00 PM 2/3/2018 12:00:00 PM
Newell Cemetery

Foothill Road & Route 31
Stanton, NJ 08885

Newell Cemetery
Foothill Road & Route 31 Stanton 08885 NJ
United States

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