As a counter-intelligence officer in the Army's Strategic Services Unit during World War II, J. Paul MacPherson Jr. was among those who smuggled German military scientists out of the country.
The mission alternatively was known as Operation Overcast or Project Paperclip. And the scientists, some of whom initially settled in Buffalo, went on to form the core of the United States space program.
Mr. MacPherson, an international businessman, died Thursday in Batavia, where he had been hospitalized. He was 77.
Born in Buffalo, he was a graduate of Canisius High School and Canisius College. After his military service, he started his career with Chemcentral's Buffalo Division and was named president of its Canadian operation in the early 1970s.
After forming his own petrochemical trading company, Mr. MacPherson bought Whitnor Chemical Co. in Lewiston in 1975, then later sold it to Fuchs GmbH of Mannheim, Germany, his largest European distributor.
Mr. MacPherson, who was involved in chemical trading and export until his retirement in 1993, was a member of several professional organizations. He also was active for many years as a local Republican committeeman and was a member of Heritage Foundation.
A former resident of Amherst and Kenmore, Mr. MacPherson was a parishioner at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in the Town of Tonawanda, where he was a member of its Holy Name Society and was a religious education instructor.
His wife, Marion Scott MacPherson, died in 2004.
Survivors include four sons, J. Paul III, Thomas, James and Michael, and three daughters, Brenda Burke, Bonnie Braungart and Lisa.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10:45 a.m. Monday in St. John the Baptist Church, 1085 Englewood Ave., Town of Tonawanda.