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Emil Rechsteiner, 86

Long-time Groton resident and patriot Emil Rechsteiner, 86, died peacefully on Skyfields Farm in the home he built and loved. His son, Paul, was with him as he passed.

Emil was born in St. Gallen, Switzerland in 1931 to Appenzeller Johann Rechsteiner and German Paula Munding Rechsteiner. His beloved older brother, Adolf, passed away in 1992. 

Emil grew up in north eastern Switzerland under the Alps and under much stress; his parents were dairy farmers owning cows but renting land. The family worked hard together–up early since he could walk, milking cows and working the farm. Magic happened on Sundays though when mother Paula turned the house into a village restaurant for village workers and travelers. Emil and Adolf listened in to the stories told around the table of Hitler’s rise to power and later the war engulfing the rest of Europe throughout the 1930s and 40s. As the guests drank cider and schnapps, ate wurst and played cards, he wondered about the world beyond the village. 

At 14 Emil finished middle school and started work, first as a butcher’s apprentice and ultimately as a master Swiss baker, a skill he loved until the very end of his life. At 20 he was drafted into the Swiss Army and served happily for a year. In 1952 at 21, he sailed for America with a dream, was greeted by the Statue of Liberty and arrived in New York City.

He worked with his Uncle Anton Munding in Toledo, Ohio as a baker and only months later was drafted into the army during the Korean War. He served at Fort Knox, KY and later, taking advantage of the GI Bill, graduated from Michigan State University with both a Bachelor’s degree and an MBA in 1959. He had been in the US for only seven years.

Emil began his career in upstate New York working as a market researcher for Corning Glass, a job he loved, imagining market ideas for their many products. In 1961 he moved to New York City founding his own market research company, Technology Markets. He thrived in NYC marrying his love, New York native Jeanne Raymond Rumpp. They loved and supported each other for 50 years until her passing in 2014. 

In 1968 Emil joined one of his client companies as President of Analog Devices in Cambridge, relocating the family to neighboring Arlington. After three years at Analog Devices, he found success for the next 20 years with ISOREG, his transformer company in Littleton. As CEO he dedicated himself to building the business and was proud of the ISOREG team.

He and Jeanne designed and built their dream home in 1985 relocating to beautiful Groton. A severe stroke in 1992 forced him to sell his business however. While recovering he founded a new consulting business Embrec.  

As much as Emil loved the business world, towards the end of his life he devoted himself to writing and politics, penning more than 300 published opinion letters. He wrote sensible insights into politics, economics, history and science and published in the NYT, the Boston Globe and his beloved Groton Herald. He was also an active Democrat pushing for social and economic justice. While he started his life in America as a devout capitalist, he ended as a social democrat highly enthused by the works of Richard Wolff and Noam Chomsky. 

Wanting to share his many experiences he wrote a memoir for his family and an economic and political treatise Ecornicopia for the country. 

Emil loved gardening, baking, hiking, reading, science, animals, children and all intellectual conversation. 

He leaves his son John Rechsteiner and family Naoko Kitamura, Julian and Mia of San Francisco; and son Paul Rechsteiner of Brooklyn and his family Edi Kearns and Nathan Rechsteiner Reynolds.  

Please join us Sunday March 4 at 1 p.m. for a celebration of his life at The Bull Run, 215 Great Road, Shirley. The family request flowers be omitted but that donations in Emil Rechsteiner’s name may be made to the MSPCA, protecting the rights of Massachusetts’s animals. (MSPCA 350 South Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02130.)

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