Issue Date: December 19, 2011
Jacob L. (Jack) Yamins
Jacob L. (Jack) Yamins, 97, a food industry consultant, died on Oct. 22 at his home in Sunderland, Mass.
Yamins graduated cum laude from Amherst College with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1936 and then studied organic chemistry at Massachusetts Institute of Technology until 1938.
During the first few years of World War II, Yamins remained at MIT, participating in the synthesis of vitamin A and contributing to a national defense project to reduce the use of certain metals in wartime products. He then joined National Fireworks in Weston, Mass., where he conducted munitions research from 1943 until 1946.
Yamins later moved to New York to join National Dairy Products Corp., in Oakdale. He conducted research on phenylketonuria, a genetic neurological disease that results in the inability to metabolize the amino acid phenylalanine. His work subsequently led to the practice of screening all infants for the disease.
Yamins then served as director of research at American Sugar Refining, in Brooklyn, from 1959 until the mid-1960s, before founding his own consulting firm to serve clients including Anheuser-Busch, Progresso, and Standard Oil.
In the late 1960s and the 1970s, he worked for PepsiCo, where he was responsible for fundamental research that led to the development of the first plastic disposable beverage bottles.
He was a fellow of the New York Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was also a member of the American Institute of Chemists and the Institute of Food Technologists, as well as an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1939.
A lifelong supporter of Amherst, he served on many committees, including the Friends of Amherst Athletics, and established several prizes and scholarships in honor of his former classmates. In 1986, he received the college’s Distinguished Service Award.
He is survived by his wife, Rosemary; son, Robert; three stepsons, Jonathan, Jamison, and Davis Abbott; one granddaughter; and six step-grandchildren. His first wife, Frieda, preceded him in death.
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