After four months of hospice care at home, Jerrold Zindler died peacefully on July 30, 2021, surrounded by his family. The cause of death was pancreatic cancer, said his son, Ethan. He was 85.
Born on Aug. 2, 1934 in the Bronx, N.Y., Jerry was the son of Dinah (Taxin) and Elias Zindler. After graduating from DeWitt Clinton High School, he went on to MIT, where he earned a degree in mechanical engineering in 1955.
On summer weekends during his college years, “he and his pals would venture down to the West Village in New York to watch all-night jazz sessions in sweaty beer halls,” Ethan said. Then, “in the winter, they’d drive to Vermont to ski and meet girls from Quebec.” Jerry maintained lifelong friendships from those years. He was a proud MIT alumnus who supported the work of younger alumni throughout his life.
After graduating from MIT, he held positions at various technology and biotechnology companies, collaborating with industrial designers on the then-novel concept of the human experience of biotechnical and industrial invention. He helped create one of the first desktop blood gas auto-analyzers, the type still in use in medical offices today.
In 1983, he joined forces with industrial designer Gianfranco Zaccai to create Design Continuum, which grew to be a thriving engineering and industrial design firm. One of its most notable projects was designing and building prototype models for airport security. For this work, the company received the 1994 Presidential Design Award from President Clinton. Jerry retired from the company in 1997 and went on to be a member of the industrial advisory board of the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology.
In his retirement, he took great pleasure in mentoring young people who were starting technology companies. He helped, for instance, with the development of the wireless tracking company Trakus, whose systems are widely used in sports analysis and television production. Another company drew on his expertise in its design of hydro-surgical cutting devices. There were many others.
Jerry was an exuberant man, committed as much to his family as to his work. In 1970, Jerry and his wife, Linda (Logowitz), collaborated with the late Wellfleet architect Alan Dodge to build a unique prefabricated modular home on Fourth of July Road in Truro. It was the second of two houses to be built on that winding dirt road.
He and Linda would retreat there as often as possible to spend long days on Longnook Beach and to dabble in fishing and sailing. They later moved to a house on Snow’s Road. Throughout their 54-year marriage, they entertained legions of friends and family in Truro.
Jerry had a big appetite for life and for learning and debate. “My dad was a man of many strongly held opinions,” said Ethan, though they were “not about how people were supposed to be.”
Whether he was zooming around the Outer Cape on the motorcycle he bought in his 70s, rooting for the Sox, devouring the Sunday New York Times, or sailing in Boston Harbor, he was always “all in.” Once, he was fished out of Boston Harbor after his sailboat got tangled up with a tugboat and a tanker and sank.
Jerry was an enthusiastic parent and grandparent. Although he would have loved for his son to follow in his footsteps to MIT, he understood, said Ethan, “that that wasn’t me.” His grandchildren gave him pleasure whether they were playing lacrosse, giving a cello concert, or performing show tunes.
In addition to his wife, Linda Zindler, of Jamaica Plain, Jerry leaves his sister, Rita Asch and husband Frank Magalhaes of Princeton, N.J.; son Ethan Zindler and wife Kristen Mainzer of Alexandria, Va.; daughter Rachel Zindler and husband Paul Newman of Austin, Texas; brother-in-law Stephen Logowitz and wife Dorothea Black of Newton; and grandchildren Nyla, Crow, Dillyn, and Delia, as well as many cherished cousins, nieces, and nephews.