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John Fesler Dies; Was ITC Engineer

He patented magnetic head designs for Series 99 cart machines

John Charles Fesler, formerly a design engineer at International Tapetronics Corp., has died. He was 58. No cause of death was reported.

According to an obituary sent by his friend Michael Bové, Fesler joined ITC after earning a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from Bradley University in Illinois. Among his efforts at ITC he developed and patented magnetic head designs that “revolutionized” tape cartridge machine audio performance with the ITC Series 99 product line.

Fesler was a contributor to NAB Standards committees and attended the NAB convention every year during his career with ITC, according to Bové, who added: “Our best memories of John are his bow-tie, zany wit and smiling countenance with which he brightened the workplace at ITC.”

ITC had been a unit of 3M located in Bloomington, Ill. In 1997, Diagnostic/Retrieval Systems Inc. announced that its DRS Ahead Technology Inc. subsidiary had acquired the manufacturing, sales and service rights for the cart machine and digital program repeater product lines.

Fesler, an avid historian and musician, became friends with the family of Thomas Edison, according to Bové. In 1979, the 100th anniversary of the invention of the light bulb, Fesler was allowed back into Edison’s lab where the first bulbs were built to re-create the process and built a number of bulbs in the same manner as Edison. Fesler owned several of Edison’s cylinder recorders and original recordings. He developed an electronic playback machine to transcribe the originals which are now in the archives of the Lincoln Center in New York, according to another friend, Charlie Bates.

Fesler is survived by his wife Charlotte, his mother Ethel, sister Ginny as well as a niece and nephew.

Haensel Funeral Home in Mackinaw, Ill. assisted the family with arrangements. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials in memory of Fesler to the Community Band of Bloomington-Normal, c/o Mike Wallace, 8155 North 1750 East Road, Bloomington, IL 61704.

Sample Patent: Magnetic Transducer Head