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Alexander F. Giacco Sr.

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Alexander F. Giacco Sr. Obituary
Alexander F. Giacco, Sr.

Alexander F. Giacco, Sr. passed away at his home surrounded by his family on June 27, 2013. He was 93. Mr. Giacco was born in San Giovanni di Gerace, Italy on August 24, 1919, immigrated to the United States with his family in 1921, and became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1927.

Mr. Giacco had a long and distinguished business career beginning with the Hercules Powder Company in 1942 after graduating with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute. He remained with Hercules until 1987, rising through the ranks to become its sixth President in 1977. He held the title of President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board until his retirement in 1987. While C.E.O. of Hercules, the company formed a joint venture with Montedison, S.p.A. of Milan, creating Himont Incorporated in 1983, which became the largest manufacturer of polypropylene in the world. Mr. Giacco was the C.E.O. and Chairman of the Board of Himont until Montedison purchased Hercules' ownership. With this transaction, Mr. Giacco, already a member of the Board of Directors of Montedison, became Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Montedison. He also joined the Board of Directors of Montedison's parent company, Ferruzzi Finanziaria of Milan. He remained in these roles until 1991. Mr. Giacco continued to be active well into his 80's with Empower Materials and Ajedium Film Group, both successful Delaware based growth businesses.

Mr. Giacco received many awards during his business career, among the most notable were being named the Best CEO in the Chemical Industry by The Financial World for 1984, The Chemical Industry's Outstanding CEO by the Wall Street Transcript for 1983, 1984 and 1985, and being named One of Twelve Outstanding CEOs in U.S. Industry by Financial World for 1987.

Mr. Giacco was also active in his community, serving as Chairman of the Board of the Grand Opera House in Wilmington, as a Member of the Board of Visitors at Virginia Polytechnic Institute from 1977 to 1987 and becoming Rector of the Board of Visitors from 1984 to 1987, a member of the Executive Committee for President Reagan's Cost Control in the Federal Government (the Grace Commission), a member of President Carter's Committee for New Initiatives in East-West Cooperation, a Trustee and member of the Board of Directors for the Delaware Medical Center (now Christiana Care), a member of the Board of Directors of WHYY, Inc., and worked extensively with Junior Achievement and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Delaware. Mr. Giacco is also a recipient of the Marvel Cup Award, which is given by the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce to recognize outstanding contribution to the state, community, and society. He also worked with the Catholic Church on multiple projects including The Ministry of Caring, the Little Sisters of the Poor, the Diocese of Wilmington Parochial School Scholarship program and the founding of St Mark's High School. It is for his work with the Catholic Church that he was inducted into the Association of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (Knights of Malta) at St. Patrick's Cathedral in 1987.

He received numerous other awards for service, being awarded the Commendatore in the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic in 1984 (an award his father won for exceptional bravery in World War I) and was awarded the Order of Merit with the rank of Commendatore Knight's Captain in 1985.

The achievement he was proudest of was his marriage to his wife of 53 years, Edith Brown, and the family they raised. Mr. Giacco met his future wife while both were working at Hercules, and they married on February 16, 1946. Through multiple moves until permanently locating in Wilmington in 1958, Edith Giacco provided the stability and structure that allowed their growing family to thrive. Edith died in November, 1999 at age 79. Surviving Mr. Giacco are five children and spouses, fifteen grandchildren and two great grandchildren. They are sons Alexander F. Giacco, Jr. (Christine Horn Giacco and children Francesca, Alexander F., III and Nicholas); Richard J. Giacco (Lisa Monigle Giacco and children, Lauren with her children Paul Wilkinson, Jr. (P.J.) and Poppy Alexandra Wilkinson, Richard, Jr. and his wife Meredith, and Leigh); and daughters Mary (Mimi) Walsh (Kevin. E. Walsh and children Kevin, Jr., Kellie, and Ian Alexander); Elizabeth (Liz) Brown (Charles R. Brown, and children Charles, Jr. (Chad), Harrison, Alexander (Sandy) and Elise); and Marissa Rath (Charles A. Rath (Chip) and children Charles, Jr. (Abry) and Michael). He is also survived by his sister Beatrice Kowalski of Waterbury, CT and numerous nieces and nephews.

Mr. Giacco was a present or past member of the Wilmington Club, the Vicmead Hunt Club, the Wilmington Country Club, the Everglades Club, the Rehoboth Beach Country Club and the Palm Beach Yacht Club.

The family would like to thank Mr. Giacco's caregivers for their devoted service over the last several years.

Visitation for family and friends will be held on Monday, July 1 at the Chandler Funeral Home on Concord Pike from 6 to 8 pm in the evening. Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at Saint Joseph's on the Brandywine at 10:30 am on Tuesday, July 2. Interment will be private.

In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to the Little Sisters of the Poor, 185 Salem Church Rd, Newark, Delaware 19713.

For online condolences, please visit


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Published in The News Journal from June 29 to July 1, 2013
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