Henry John Chaya, 91, of Beacon, died Jan. 29, 2013, at Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie while surrounded by his family.
He was born Dec. 27, 1921, in Elizabeth, N.J., to parents Edward and Sophie Chaya, according to Halvey Funeral Home, which handled his funeral arrangements and published his obituary.
He received a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute and a master's degree in chemistry from Purdue University in Indiana in 1949. At Purdue, he met Ruth, his wife of 60 years.
A World War II veteran, Henry served in the signal corps under Gen. Dwight Eisenhower in Europe and later in Japan, where he was assigned to Gen. Douglas MacArthur 's headquarters.
Henry worked for Texaco for 37 years. Following his retirement in 1986, he studied anthropology at the University at Albany. He received a second master's degree in 1983. During the course of his anthropological studies, he traveled to sites in both the United States and Central America to conduct research.
In his spare time, Henry was very active with the Boy Scouts , specifically Troop 21 in Beacon and Troop 27 in Newburgh.
Survivors include two sons, Henry Chaya of the Bronx and Edward Chaya of Beacon; four daughters, Dr. Ellen F. Abate and her husband, Leonard, of Newburgh, Mary Villano and her husband, Gary , of Cary, N.C., Elizabeth Wells and her husband, Grant, of Colfax, Calif., and Barbara Chaya of Beacon; five grandchildren, Amy, Kyle, Matthew, Lauryn and Michelle; and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Ruth Marie King.
A Mass of Christian burial was celebrated Feb. 2 at St. John The Evangelist Parish, 31 Willow St., Beacon. Interment with military honors followed at St. Joachim Cemetery, 301 Washington Ave., in Beacon.
Donations may be made to the Hudson Valley Council of the Boy Scouts of America .
Published in Newsday Westchester on Feb. 20, 2013