Oct. 5, 1944 – Jan. 22, 2019
From modest beginnings in Concord, N.H., Robin Jon Lindgren was educated as an electrical engineer, then worked as president and chief executive officer of several local manufacturing companies.
Later, he was a business consultant, designing and implementing restructuring and other plans for many large businesses.
He was a dapper dresser, an accomplished rock climber, a lover of classical music and a true Renaissance man, said his wife, Maureen McCready.
He was modest and soft-spoken, although he would accept compliments on his made-from-scratch apple pie. He would also, his wife said, "hover on the brink of bragging" about the athletic accomplishments of his daughter, Heather, the first female player on the City Honors School ice hockey team.
Mr. Lindgren, 74, of Boston, N.Y., died Jan. 22, 2019, from complications of Alzheimer's disease. He had lived in Father Baker Manor in Orchard Park since December 2016.
He was born in Concord, N.H., on Oct. 5, 1944, the son of Milo and Cecelia (Langlois) Lindgren and younger brother of James Lindgren. Milo Lindgren owned a company that built houses.
As a youth in Concord, Mr. Lindgren worked first on a farm that supplied food to a nursing home operated by the Christian Science Church, then in the kitchen of the nursing home. Although he was never a Christian Scientist himself, he was deeply affected by the church's teachings, said his wife, preferring to use the power of his intellect to overcome a headache rather than take an aspirin.
As a teenager, Mr. Lindgren became proficient at restoring old cars and turning them into drag racers.
He won a New Hampshire science contest, blowing up his high school’s science lab in the process, his wife said.
He told the story of sneaking away from his parents’ home in Concord to travel to Manchester, where he won first place in a dance contest by doing the Twist.
Mr. Lindgren joined the United States Air Force in February 1964. He was stationed in France, working as a mechanic on the communications equipment of cargo planes. After being teased mercilessly about his New Hampshire accent, his wife said, "with characteristic competence and resolve, he dispatched his accent." For the rest of his life, the only remaining clue to his New England upbringing was his pronunciation of the word “father.”
Mr. Lindgren turned down his commanding officers' suggestion that he enroll in Officer Training School and was honorably discharged from the Air Force in January 1970.
In 1972, he earned a bachelor's degree with honors in electrical engineering from the University of New Hampshire. He earned a master's degree in business administration from the Amos Tuck School of Business Management at Dartmouth College in 1974.
A member of the Society of Automotive Engineers, he became a board member in his early 20s.
His first job after college was at Corning Inc., where Mr. Lindgren conceived a plan for Corning to manufacture ceramic catalytic converters and supply them to Detroit automakers. This venture significantly improved Corning’s finances.
He was director of materials management at Schering-Plough Corp. in Kenilworth, N.J., from 1981 to 1984, then a vice president at Bristol Myers Squibb Co. in Syracuse from 1984 to 1988. There he was responsible for worldwide purchasing, logistics and material functions throughout the company’s 12 pharmaceutical plants.
Despite considerable success at Fortune 100 companies, Mr. Lindgren yearned to be in charge of a company. So in 1988 he relocated to Buffalo, to become president and chief executive officer of Mod-PAC Corporation, where he worked from 1988 to 1990.
From 1990 to 1992, he was president and chief executive officer of Morrison Industries in Buffalo, where he led the $15 million truck body manufacturer through a business turnaround and venture formation.
From 1992 to 1994, Mr. Lindgren was president and chief executive officer of Hiross Inc. in Niagara Falls. He brought the company into EPA, DEC and OSHA compliance and ended six consecutive years of losses.
From 1994 until his retirement in 2010, Mr. Lindgren worked as a management consultant. His wife said in that work he combined "his vast technical knowledge and business experience with his strong intellect to provide astute analysis of both complicated systems and of people."
Mr. Lindgren and McCready, an attorney, married on Sept. 19, 2010.
Besides rock- and ice-climbing, Mr. Lindgren loved observing nature, skiing, biking, boating, camping and telling stories of his adventures on the Contoocook River when he was growing up. He was a man of easy elegance, with sophisticated tastes and an encyclopedic knowledge of classical music, and a spousal member of the Saturn Club.
Besides his wife and daughter, Heather M. Lindgren, he is survived by his brother, James Lindgren.
A private celebration of Mr. Lindgren’s life will be held at the convenience of the family.