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Dr. James D. D'Ianni

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Dr. James D. D'Ianni

Dr. James D. D'Ianni, one of America's foremost chemists and forward-thinking industrial leaders, died August 14, 2007 in Akron, Ohio, where he lived all of his 93 years except for three years spent in Madison, Wisconsin; and where he obtained his Ph. D. in organic chemistry. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from The University of Akron in 1934, and was also a graduate of the Advanced Management Program of the Harvard Business School.

Dr. D'Ianni spent his entire professional career with the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, retiring as director of research in 1978. Among his greatest professional accomplishments was helping to develop synthetic rubber, a discovery which effectively helped to end World War II. The American Chemical Society honored Dr. D'Ianni for his contributions to the development of synthetic rubber in 1998. Active in his profession, he was a member of the American Chemical Society (ACS), which he served as President, and with its Rubber Division, which he also headed. He was the first ACS President to travel to China in that capacity. In 1977, the ACS Rubber Division honored Dr. D'Ianni with the most prestigious award in rubber chemistry - the Charles Goodyear Medal. Dr. D'Ianni also served as a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Looking back on his long and illustrious career, Dr. D'Ianni once remarked: "Our future is bright, because it is challenging. I have attempted to do what science is expected to do, and this is to look into the future and predict what it may hold. To say that our prospects are exciting is an understatement indeed." Dr. D'Ianni is the holder or co-holder of 17 patents and the author or co-author of over 50 scientific articles. He took a leave of absence from Goodyear in 1946 to serve as chief of the polymer research branch of the Office of Rubber Reserve in Washington, D.C.

Dr. D'Ianni's life's journey has moved full circle, yet his personal fortitude; intellectual acumen and scientific skill that his education provided him will live on in perpetuity through his personal philanthropy. He was a generous contributor to The University of Akron (UA), where he holds an honorary doctor of science degree and served as a director of the UA Foundation. Dr. D'Ianni also received the Akron Council of Engineering and Scientific Societies Distinguished Award and the UA Distinguished Alumni Award, and in 1999 made the largest gift at that time by an individual to support the UA's research efforts.

Born in Akron, Ohio on March 11, 1914, Dr. D'Ianni married Dorothy Osterstock of Akron in 1940. The couple had a daughter, Vicki Bitner (John), now living in Evanston, Illinois, and Dr. D'Ianni has three grandchildren (Kerry Bitner of Burlingame, California; Holly Bitner Duck of Naperville, Illinois, and Robin Bitner of San Francisco, California) and three great-grandchildren (Laurel and Alex Taschetta and Corinne Duck of Burlingame and Naperville, respectively).

His wife of 52 years died in 1992, and he married Claire Goble of Oxford, Ohio in 1994. He is also survived by three sisters, Helen D'Ianni of Akron, Ohio, Filomena Irvin of Northfield, Ohio and Catherine Tallon of Stow, Ohio. A fourth sister, Josephine Brubaker of Stow, Ohio, is recently deceased.

There will be a private, family service held later this week, with a memorial service for family and friends to be held on September 7, 2007. The memorial service will be held at The University of Akron's Goodyear Polymer Center in Room 229, 170 University Avenue, Akron, Ohio, beginning at 11 a.m. For directions or parking information, please call 330-972-7238.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to the Dr. and Mrs. James D. D'Ianni Chemistry Endowment at The University of Akron Foundation, Akron, OH 44325-2603.

Published in Akron Beacon Journal from Aug. 15 to Aug. 19, 2007
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