Glen D. Barbaras, PhD
Wilmington - Age 100, passed away November 24, 2019.
He was born in Milwaukee, WI to Eleanore and Harry Barbaras. Glen was a top student at Washington High School in Milwaukee and was recently inducted into its Alumni Hall of Fame. He worked jobs throughout high school and college and lived at home while attending Marquette University, where he received a BS in Chemistry, graduating magna cum laude in 1941. While completing the course and examination requirements for an MS in Chemistry, he began an emergency teaching position in the engineering Physics department of Marquette in Spring 1942.
In September 1942, his thesis research was still in progress when he gave up the master's program to accept a teaching fellowship at the University of Chicago to pursue a PhD in chemistry. He met and shared a lab with a fellow graduate student, Geraldine Kidd, who was also working for a PhD in the same field. They were married in March 1944 while still in grad school. Each has authored scientific papers, some together and some with research advisors like Dr. H. C. Brown, who later received the Nobel Award in Chemistry, and Dr. H. I. Schlesinger, who received top U.S. awards in Chemistry.
In September 1943, Glen's thesis research was again interrupted when he was asked to join the Manhattan Project at Chicago. At age 24, he was the first scientist to create a pivotal process for measuring neutrons and was immediately asked to supervise a group working on the use of boron-coated elements to monitor neutrons throughout all phases of the Project, including inside atomic piles, and on each of the planes involved in dropping the atom bombs on Japan.
After his release from the Project in June 1946, he returned to his PhD research while working full time with his wife (who had received her degree) on a Naval Research Project on high energy rocket propellants at the University of Chicago. In October 1947, they both joined the Grasselli Chemicals Department of DuPont at the Cleveland Laboratory. Glen finally received his PhD in absentia in March 1949.
In September 1950, Glen was transferred to the newly expanded Experimental Station of DuPont in Wilmington, DE where he ultimately became a Research Manager and a Laboratory Administrator. He retired in May 1978 after almost 31 years at DuPont. Several patents have been issued on his work at Chicago and at DuPont.
In February 1980, he became a founding member of the Academy of Lifelong Learning at the University of Delaware (now Osher Lifelong Learning Institute). He was very active there as a student, teacher, chairman of the Academy's Governing Council, and chairman of the Academy's Outreach Committee. He completed 74 continuous active semesters, was responsible for the installation of state-of-the-art audiovisual facilities for all the classrooms, taught courses at the Academy on the history of Wilmington and guest-lectured in a number of other courses up to the age of 95.
Glen presented more than 500 lectures locally - many featuring his extensive collection of slides of Wilmington. In addition to pursuing slide photography, history, and extensive world travel, he began abstract wood sculpting in retirement. His sculptures have been selected for juried regional shows at the University of Delaware, at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, and three are on permanent display at his church.
Glen was an active member of the First Unitarian Church in Sharpley for 61 years where he chaired many committees, including Finance and Fund Raising, and was President of the Board of Trustees. In 1981, he served as Local Chair in Philadelphia for the National General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Churches. For many years he was also an active volunteer for human service organizations like Adopt-a-Family and Human Service Volunteers for which he served as treasurer. He was Finance Chair and President of the Board of Delaware Guidance Services.
Gerry, his wife of 60 years, passed away in 2004. He is survived by his sons, Larry (Sally Guy) of Brookline MA and David (Masae Higaki) of Washington DC; his daughter, Gale; his brother-in-law, David Kidd (Delores) and their children; plus other family nieces and nephews.
In 1951, his only brother, Gordon, and wife, Mary, were killed in an auto accident when their daughters were just 2 and 3 years old. Glen had a particularly close relationship with those nieces, Nancy Barbaras and Diane Miller (Thomas), the Miller children, son Eric (Marie) with grandchildren Nora and Declan and daughter Colleen (Anthony) with grandchildren Ethan and Addison.
A Memorial Celebration will be held at 11:00 am, Saturday, January 11, 2020 at the First Unitarian Church, 730 Halstead Road, Wilmington, DE 19803. Anyone who wishes may make a memorial contribution to the Endowment Fund of either the First Unitarian Church or the University of Delaware Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, 2700 Pennsylvania Avenue, Wilmington, DE 19806.
CREMATION SERVICE OF DELAWARE
Published in The News Journal from Dec. 2 to Dec. 8, 2019.