John De Vries ’41

John De Vries ’41 and his wife, Ruth, of Palo Alto, California, affected the world in retirement. After John retired from the research faculty at Cal State Hayward in 1987, they heard a missionary speak at their church, Menlo Park Presbyterian. The obstacle facing missionaries was their need for batteries to power their radios and tape players. John designed a 4”x7” solar panel that would provide the needed power. Along with the help of other retirees at the church, they proceeded to build an average of 1,000 solar panels per year for 20 years. Ruth, along with other church volunteers, sewed and assembled protective cases to ship and store each of the panels. The volunteers performed all of the work for the 20,000 solar panels in their homes. The panels were used by missionaries on at least five continents.

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