Martin J. Tierney Sr., 88, chemical company head


Martin J. Tierney Sr., who worked during World War II to develop synthetic rubber and later retired as president of Rubicon Chemicals Inc., died Tuesday of complications after gall bladder surgery at the Charlestown Retirement Community in Catonsville. He was 88 and had settled in Maryland in 1998.

Born in Waterbury, Conn., Mr. Tierney earned a bachelor of science degree at Middlebury College in 1936 and was employed in the U.S. Rubber Co. chemical division in Naugatuck, Conn.

In 1939, he was studying for a doctorate in chemistry in Stuttgart, Germany, when war broke out, and he returned home. During World War II, he worked for the government on the synthetic rubber project, and in 1944 was attached as a civilian to the Army to evaluate the effectiveness of Allied bombing on German industry.

He often noted that he was in Germany at both the beginning and the end of the war, said his wife, the former Karline Koenen, whom he married in 1949.

After the war, Mr. Tierney held a number of positions with the Uniroyal Chemical Corp. before being named president in 1965 of Rubicon Chemicals, a subsidiary of Uniroyal and Imperial Chemical Industries of Great Britain, in Geismar, La. He retired in 1978 and was a member of the American Chemical Society and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

In 1993, he earned a master's degree at Western Connecticut State University in mathematics -- a hobby of his, said his wife.

He was an avid tennis player until four years ago.

Services were held Friday at Our Lady of the Angels Chapel at Charlestown.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Tierney is survived by a son, Martin J. Tierney Jr. of Hagerstown; a daughter, Mary Clare Conlon of Los Angeles; and two grandsons. A son, Karl Joseph Tierney, died in 1995.

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