Dr. Ing. E.h. Max Näder of Otto Bock HealthCare, Duderstadt, Germany, passed away peacefully on July 24. He was 94.
Näder was the son-in-law of company founder Otto Bock and pioneered both technical and business innovations for the company. He was a doctor of engineering (Mechaniker Meister), who joined the company in 1935 and married Maria Bock-Otto Bock’s youngest daughter-in 1943. According to Otto Bock HealthCare, patents during Näder’s tenure included one in 1962 for molded SACH feet, the first complete myoelectric system in the late 1960s, and the pyramid adaptor in 1969-all still in use today.
In 1947, Näder and his wife rebuilt the company in Duderstadt, Germany in response to the Konigsee factory being seized in East Germany. He visited the United States for the first time in 1956, and in 1958, he established Otto Bock USA with John Hendrickson. In 1962, while visiting Florida, he witnessed firsthand hundreds of warships that were involved in the Cuban Missile Crisis. He is quoted on the company website as saying, “The Cuban crisis and deployment of the American navy in 1962 were key events that provoked us to extend the internationalization of our activities to Australia and Canada. These days, that would be called risk management.”
At the age of 75, in 1990, Näder handed over company management to his son, Professor Hans Georg Näder.
Max Näder stayed involved with the company even in his last years, and was known as a friendly visitor to the Duderstadt office throughout his 90s. According to a company statement, he “was the type of man who always stopped and shook your hand-and probably knew you and what project you were working on.”
In remembrance, the worldwide Otto Bock operations will close to observe a one-hour memorial on the afternoon of his funeral, Friday, July 31. Business operations in Duderstadt and Königsee will pause for the entire day of the funeral.