Louis F. Erb

Louis F. Erb

Age 75, an executive for many years with Wilmington-based Hercules Inc., died peacefully this Thursday, July 25, 2013 at Foulk Manor South nursing home.

Lou, as he was known to friends and family, was born and raised in Louisville, KY, graduating in 1960 from the University of Louisville with a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering. He then served honorably in the United States Marine Corps for three years, rising to rank of captain while posted in the U.S, Far East and Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Lou was an Eagle Scout with a Bronze Palm.

He joined Hercules, a chemical company that was long based in Wilmington, immediately after his military service, focusing on plastics research and development. In 1972, he moved to Charlotte, N.C., with his growing family, taking responsibility for all plastics sales in much of the South.

In 1976, Lou returned to Wilmington to head up the company's Plastics Technical Center, and within three years was promoted to manager of the Thermoplastics Technology Division, overseeing three labs staffed with 90 scientists and technicians.

Recognizing Lou's leadership abilities and versatility, Hercules sent him to Brazil in 1981 to head up the company's efforts in the international plastics market there. With a growing fluency in Portuguese aiding his efforts, Lou served as president of Hercules do Brasil in Sao Paulo, managing production of chemicals that were key in the manufacture of numerous products. At the same time he was general manager for South American operations.

Returning to Delaware in 1991 with his Brazilian-born bride, Iara, Lou served as product and planning director for the Liquid Molding Resin unit, and in 1992 was named business director of the company's new Structon Liquid Resin Systems effort.

He retired to his Newark home in 1994, enjoying his passion of hunting, arrow-head collecting and the company of his wife, family and friends for nearly 20 happy years. He is survived by his wife of 27 years, four daughters, their spouses, three grandchildren, his sister and brother-in-law as well as his niece and her family.

The family is grateful to Foulk Manor South and Vitas Hospice for the care Lou received over the past three years.

Services will be private.

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Funeral Home

Chandler Funeral Homes and Crematorium
2506 Concord Pike Wilmington, DE 19803
(302) 478-7100

Published in The News Journal on July 28, 2013