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Dr. Robert Clyde Forney

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Dr.  Robert Clyde Forney Obituary
Dr. Robert Clyde Forney

AGE: 89 •

Dr. Robert Clyde Forney passed away August 3, 2016 at the age of 89.

Dr. Forney enjoyed a long career as a chemical engineer, and was a senior Vice President for the DuPont Company from 1979 to 1989. In his professional life, he was known for his incisive analytical ability. During his tenure at DuPont, Dr. Forney was instrumental in the development of several important textiles. His initial assignment was the commercialization of Dacron, which he claimed was the luckiest assignment that a young engineer could have been given. As a part of this role, he oversaw the start-up of the DuPont plants in Kinston, North Carolina and Old Hickory, Tennessee. Dr. Forney became the vice president of the textile fibers department in 1975 and senior Vice President starting in 1979. As senior vice-president, Dr. Forney's portfolio included all research activities at DuPont. He also served on the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors until his retirement in 1989.

In 1989 NASA presented Dr. Forney with the "Silver Snoopy" award in recognition for his work as a volunteer consultant to the space shuttle program after the Challenger disaster. He also served as a volunteer consultant to the federal government for a series of National Academy of Engineering studies including studies on chemical and radioactive disposal, technology transfers from academia to industry, and the transition from socialist to capitalistic economies in Eastern Europe.

Robert Forney was born in 1927 to Peter Clyde and Hildur Hogland Forney. He entered Purdue University in 1944 as an undergraduate, and by 1950 had received a Bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering, a Master's degree in Industrial Engineering, and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering. Dr. Forney was a member of the Purdue Research Foundation for 20 years and the co-chair of the Purdue Class of 1947 scholarship fund. The Chemical Engineering building at Purdue University bears his name in recognition of the support he has given to the department and the University.

During his lifetime, Dr. Forney was chairman of the Chemical Manufacturers Association, a member of the Management-Labor Textile Advisory Committee of the Department of Commerce, the Advisory Board of the National Science Resources Center of the National Academy of Sciences, the Council of Family Services and the Criminal Justice Council in Wilmington, DE., the National Academy of Engineering, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He served on the Board of Directors of the Wilmington Trust Corporation, UGI Inc., AmeriGas Inc., and Petrolane Inc. He was an emeritus member of the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences and a former trustee of the Wilmington Grand Opera House and the Delaware Theatre Company.

Travel and sailing were two of Dr. Forney's many passions, and in his travels to over 130 countries, he amassed a collection of model sailing ships. His collection, which includes more than 70 models was donated to the Kalmar Nyckel Museum in Wilmington, Delaware. Dr. Forney was an actor and theater lover, and played important roles, both on and off stage, at the Delaware Theatre Company, Wilmington Drama League, Chapel Street Players and the Arden Theater.

In his personal life, Dr. Forney was a much loved father and grandfather. He lived to see eight of his ten grandchildren receive their undergraduate degrees, and several continue on to graduate school. Additionally, he bestowed the gifts of travel, theater, and sailing upon his children and grandchildren. The grandchildren have been fortunate enough to accompany him to many important archeological sites around the world, and have been immersed in the worlds of Shakespeare and Shaw.

Dr. Robert Clyde Forney is survived by his wife of sixty nine years, Marilyn, two of his children Gerald (Irene Ludwig) and Dr. Barbara Forney (Dr. Robert Huxster), ten grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and a brother William P. Forney. He was predeceased by two sons, Gregory and Robert C. Jr.

A memorial service is planned for September 3, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. at Saint Michael's Lutheran Church, 109 East Doe Run Road, Unionville, Pa. 19375. Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you do a kindness of your choice in Bob's memory.
Published in The News Journal from Aug. 7 to Aug. 9, 2016
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