Thomas Irvin Bair, II Ph.D.
AGE: 76 • Wilmington
Thomas Irvin Bair, II died on April 15th at the age of 76 from complications of sideroblastic anemia, a condition he had fought courageously for almost 20 years.
Tom was the son of the late Charles Irvin Bair and Anna Mable Bair. He was born in Grier City, Pennsylvania (a small town near Hazleton PA) on February 12, 1938. He received his BS in Chemistry from Pennsylvania State University in 1960 and his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin in 1966. His Ph.D. work focused on substituted methylcyclopropanes.
In 1965, Tom joined DuPont in the Fiber Research organization. His over 30 years with DuPont were concentrated on fiber research in all aspects from defining chemical composition to producing structures. His early research led to the commercial process for Kevlar ®. In his later years, he joined three other senior DuPont personnel to develop new businesses for DuPont in non-woven technologies. He holds 13 patents in production processes and various absorbent materials. He retired as a Research Fellow in 1996.
Tom is survived by his wife of 48 years, former State Senator Myrna L. Bair, son Thomas I. Bair, III, daughter, Catherine L. Keaty, Ph.D., daughter in law, Lori M. Bair, grandchildren, Olivia M. Bair and Thomas I. Bair, IV, and son-in law, Kevin S. Keaty. His family was the love of his life and he spent a great deal of time with them. They shared vacations and he was very proud of every accomplishment they achieved.
Tom was the second of four children and his siblings: Lois Johnson of Culpeper, VA., Patricia Morris of Cortez, CO and Charles R. Bair of Mandeville, LA. all have survived him. He has numerous nephews and great nephews who live in VA, NC, LA and CO.
As a boy, Tom thrived in the rural life in which he lived. He was an avid Boy Scout and excelled in sports. Those pick-up games on a dusty field were highlights of his youth. This love of sports stayed with him all his life and he followed Philadelphia sports teams, Penn State Football and had seasons tickets to the Wilmington Blue Rocks and the Fightin' Blue Hens. He was a soccer coach for both his children with the Concord Soccer League.
His love of learning and application occupied much of his retired years. He learned Spanish to better navigate Spain and became the family's unofficial portfolio manager. He was an avid reader and always had several books in progress by his favorite chair. He encouraged his children and grandchildren to share his love of reading and learning.
His other great interest was travel and he and his wife spent many happy days in Europe and the Caribbean. They were on one last vacation to Disney Land when he became ill and had to return to Wilmington. Disney World was a family favorite and many spring vacations were spent there when the children were in grade school. He and Myrna spent their last night in Epcot at the German Bier Garten. Both of their family heritages were German and Germany became a favorite destination.
In addition to his many other interests, Tom was a member of Sigma Xi Research Society, the Brandywine Conservancy, as well as the Lincoln Club of Delaware.
If there was one word that described Tom, he was "kind." He truly cared about people and was always willing to lend a helping hand.
Tom's family would like to thank the Drs., nurses and staff of Christiana Care (the ICU, the Hematology-Oncology section and Seasons Hospice) for the excellent care he received during this last hospitalization. As he wished, those last moments of his life were pain free and peaceful, and he was not alone.
He fought the good fight, but in the end, his body just couldn't handle the many assaults on it.
The viewing will be Tuesday, April 22nd from 6-8 p.m. at McCrery & Harra Funeral Home, 3924 Concord Pike, Wilmington, DE 19803. Additional parking is available at the Brandywine YMCA, 3 Mt. Lebanon Rd. with a walkway connecting to the funeral home. The service will be Wednesday, April 23rd at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, 2313 Concord Pike, Wilmington, DE at 1:00 pm. Interment is private. In lieu of flowers, Tom requested that contributions be sent to the Sunday Breakfast Mission, 110 N. Poplar St., Wilmington, DE., 19801, a charity he supported because they cared about people. For online condolences visit: www.mccreryandharra.com