Hiroshi Ito

Hiroshi Ito Was born on March 26, 1946 in Kumamoto, Kyushuu, Japan, the eldest of Takashi and Kunika Ito's two sons. Takashi was a marine biologist, a professor and the president of the fisheries department at Mie University; "Hiroshi" written in Kanji means "ocean." Hiroshi grew up in Tsu-City, Mie, graduating from Tsu High School (where he met his wife Atsuko) in 1963. That year he entered Tokyo University and earned his bachelor's and master's degrees, as well as his Ph.D., all in chemistry. Hiroshi and Atsuko were married in 1969 after completing his Master's Degree. In 1976, they moved to Syracuse, NY, where Hiroshi did his post-doctoral work under the late Prof. Conrad Schuerch in the area of polysaccharide synthesis. In August 1976, during a vacation in Canada, Hiroshi and Atsuko were in a tragic automobile accident that severely injured Atsuko, leaving her a quadriplegic. Hiroshi joined IBM at the San Jose Research Laboratory in 1980 to work on the development of new, advanced photoresist materials. As one of the founding fathers of modern photolithography and co-inventor of chemically amplified photoresists, a material essential for patterning present day semiconductor devices, Hiroshi's contributions to this field were seminal. Among his many awards, the lifetime achievement award by the Society of Polymer Science (Japan), Heroes of Chemistry Award by the American Chemical Society and the Carother's Award by the American Chemical Society Delaware Section highlight his career. He was elevated to IBM Fellow in 2008, the highest technical honor in the company. Hiroshi was an avid mountaineer and photographer. In addition he and his wife were devoted opera fans, rarely missing a performance either by the San Jose or San Francisco Opera Company. Hiroshi is survived by his wife Atsuko, his younger brother Shigeru Ito, his sister-in-law Seiko Ito, his nieces Sae and Shiho Ito as well as his uncle Yoshifusa Hamada and cousins Koichiro and Michiaki Hamada. He will be greatly missed as a devoted husband, uncle, great friend and a technical leader and mentor to many. Private funeral services are pending and the family requests that donations in Dr. Ito's honor be made to the San Jose Opera.

Published in San Jose Mercury News on July 7, 2009