Lothar Wehmeier, the founder of Rehabilitation Technical Components, Inc., passed away peacefully at his home in Kailua Kona, Hawaii late last year.
Wehmeier was born in Berlin in 1933 and risked his life to escape the Nazi regime. He entered the O&P field in 1948 and moved to the United States to continue his work. In 1961, he returned to Germany to obtain his master’s degree in orthotics and prosthetics from the Bundes Fach Schooler. Before returning to the US in 1966, he managed a large orthotic and prosthetic company in Berlin. In the US, Wehmeier worked with various hospitals in New York and New Jersey, including New York University Hospital, where he helped to develop and engineer numerous O&P devices.
Wehmeier founded Rehabilitation Technical Components, Inc. in Hillside, N. J. in 1969 after designing and creating O&P devices in his basement. Along with patient care and manufacturing, RTC also imported devices from German companies, introducing thermoplastics to the US O&P industry. Wehmeier retired in 1999 and moved to North Carolina, but he continued to remain active in the industry.
During his long career, Wehmeier worked with Richard Lehneis, Joseph Cestaro, John Soares, Bob Viglianti, Kevin Carroll and many other instrumental members in the advancement of the O&P field. In 1978, the Smithsonian showcased eight of Wehmeier’s devices at its 200 Years of Rehabilitation exhibit.
Wehmeier passed away on December 22, 2011 and is survived by his wife, Yolanta Wehmeier. A private memorial service will be held at the Wehmyolo Estate in Hawaii, and tree planting ceremonies will follow in both Hawaii and North Carolina.