Posted March 26th, 2015
Bernard ("Bernie’) Rechtschaffen spent the first 15 years of his life in Germany. In 1937, he came to New York with his parents to escape the Nazis. After finishing near the top of his high school class, he studied at New York University and was drafted. He spent three years in the Army with the counter-intelligence corps. His work involved apprehending and interrogating (and arresting when necessary) German civilians for subversive activities. He prepared cases for trials, and assembled evidence, testimony and witnesses. He also helped in the establishment of the civilian government in Germany.
After his service, he continued at NYU, receiving three degrees--BA, MA, and PhD in comparative literature. He started teaching at Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (now NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering) and spent 45 years there, including 18 as chairman of the department of modern languages. He wrote or co-authored seven books on language and literature. He was a very popular teacher with a deep love for the teaching craft. He had great enthusiasm for teaching, taking special pleasure in installing a love of literature in engineering majors. He especially enjoyed taking his students to the theater to experience on stage some of the literature they were reading. In 1983, he was awarded the Distinguished Teacher citation which stated, in part, "for your appreciation of the relevance of literature to contemporary society, and for the excitement that your perceptions have inspired in your students." Upon learning about this award, two of his former students, then scientists at the renowned Bell Laboratories, wrote to him: " We feel that the citation 's inscription could not read any truer. We are proud to have had you for a teacher." When he retired, the Student Council gave him an award with the inscription: "Thank you for loving your work and giving your students guidance, and setting an example with an energetic spirit during a Polytechnic lifetime." While doing all this he was an extremely dedicated son and hands-on father, well before that was the norm.
He met his wife Florence at Polytechnic. She taught Spanish there. They were married in 1951 and were together for 62 years until her death in 2014. They had two children, Joyce and Clifford, a daughter in law, Karen Kramer, son in law, Lloyd Guerci, and three grandchildren, Julian, Eric, and Ari.
Bernie lived in Brooklyn for most of his adult life. He wrote that Brooklyn was "in his bones." He loved the juxtaposition of "so many voices, so many souls and so many cultures." He also loved going into Manhattan for theater, the symphony and ballet.
He and Florence moved from Brooklyn to Rossmoor in 1997. Bernie spent many wonderful years as a volunteer tutor for kids struggling with reading in two different programs, and taking care of his grandchildren once or twice a week.
Bernie was a beloved son, husband, father, grandfather, and father-in-law. His love for his family was unconditional and without bounds.
Bernie stayed very active until the very end. He collected articles about climate change so he could lead a discussion with his monthly men’s study group and better understand Cliff' s work. He would call his children whenever he read something that related to their work. He looked forward to his weekly lunches at the diner with a group of terrific friends and his weekly lunch with his daughter in law at the same diner. One of his doctors recently described inheriting Bernie as a patient as "a true gift. He was a delightful example of what life at 92 can be like.” A cousin remarked that "his smile could light up a room," and indeed his personality lit up many lives.
In lieu of flowers, please send contributions in support of the Bernard and Florence Rechtschaffen Humanities Award to NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering, Att: Judy Sager, Office of Development and Alumni Relations, 15 MetroTech Ctr, 6th Flr, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Checks can be made payable to NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering with Bernard and Florence Rechtschaffen Humanities Award noted in the memo line. Anyone wishing to contact the family should write to Joyce Rechtschaffen, 4627 Hunt Avenue, Chevy Chase, MD 20815.
Posted February 17th, 2015
Aaron H. Konstam, age 78, died January 20, 2015, in San Antonio, Texas. He graduated from what he always called Brooklyn Polytech with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering in 1957. He received a PhD in Chemistry from Pennsylvania State University in 1961. He was a self-taught computer scientist who retired from Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas, in 1999 as a professor emeritus of computer science.
Posted February 11th, 2015
Henry Richard Penkava passed away at his home in West Haven early on December 31 with his family at his side. He was the husband of Patricia Kavaney Penkava.
Born February 27, 1929, Hank grew up in North Haven, at the corner of the then-quiet intersection of Clintonville and Pool Roads, the youngest child of William and Anna Rocek Penkava. After graduating Lyman Hall High School in 1946, he served as a sergeant in the US Marine Corps at Cherry Point, NC and then graduated Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute with a degree in engineering. He worked as a metallurgist at Avco-Lycoming/Textron in Stratford for 3 decades, while he & his wife raised their family in West Haven. He took them camping, and made the hike up Sleeping Giant on Thanksgiving mornings a family tradition. (His love of the outdoors, however, did not extend to squirrels in the backyard; those caught in his homemade live trap were subjected to a relocation program.)
After years of hearing of and speaking of his parents’ homeland as “the old country” (one of his stock phrases was, “Things Weren’t Like This In The Old Country”), Hank visited Czechoslovakia and family there several times in the 1980’s. In retirement, he delved in to his Czech genealogy & so mastered the ways of microfiche that he became a volunteer at the LDS library in Orange and assisted others with their family trees. With his older brothers Joe and Bill, he helped organize ROMEO Club lunches in North Haven. In West Haven, he was a regular at the West Haven Library and along the West Haven boardwalk. He was a 50 year member of the Masons.
Besides Pat, his wife of 56 years, Hank leaves 3 children, Melinda & her husband Keith Smith, of Oriental, NC, Priscilla McDermott & her husband Robert of West Haven, and Bill Penkava & his wife, Michelle of Tucker, GA, as well as 6 grandchildren; Brittany Figueiredo & her husband Mark; Melissa, Christopher and Brett McDermott, and Sarah and Sam Penkava, and great-grandson, Evan Figueiredo. He was predeceased by his sister Anna Penkava O’Connor, and brothers Joseph and William Penkava.
Posted January 6th, 2015
Helmut C. Neumann '38
Dr. Joseph W. Sausville '41
Dr. Norman C. Eckert '43, '49
William H. Nelson '43
John A. Hipp '49
Eli Kraus '49
Jack P. Ruina '49, '51
Saul Wasserman '49
Frederick l. Askham '50
Arthur H. Bortz '50
Frank A. Brank '50, '58
Arthur G. Egensteiner '50
Robert J. Forbes '50
Dan Madinabeitia '51
Charles O. Theisen '51
Marian Visich, Ph.D. '51, '53, '56
Dominick Tringali '52
Henry Zeiger '52
Bernard Carmiggelt '53
Robert B. Rollins '53
Neil E. Rogen '54
John J. McCormack '55
Fortunata V. Altmayer '56
Aaron H. Konstam, Ph.D. '57
Joseph W. Lechleider, Ph.D. '57, '65
Dr. Norman O. Schultz '57
Horace L. Morancie '58
Charles E. Butera '62
Thomas J. Finneran '65
Harvey V. Lilenfeld '66
John J. McFeeley Ph.D. '66, '67, '72
Edmund J. Condon '68
James E. Witten '68
George Y. Cha '70
Martin E. Klein '75
Robert B. Korda '75
Janis G. Ziedonis '75
Dr. Gaetano Borriello '79
Emma J. Levi '84
James J. Flanagan '87
Posted December 8th, 2014
Former Southold resident Edward J. Bage, age 84, of Potsdam, died Oct. 7 at Claxton-Hepburn Hospital in Ogdensburg, N.Y., after a long struggle with Parkinson’s disease.
Edward was born Sept. 1, 1930 in Hempstead, the son of Frank Bagenski and Katherine Laska. As a young boy,
Edward learned the plastering trade and worked construction with his father and brothers. He graduated from Hempstead High School and, later attended Union College where he was a member of the college football team. He entered the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War in 1951, and was honorably discharged in 1953.
Edward earned degrees in construction engineering from Farmingdale Agriculture and Technical Institute, and mechanical and civil engineering from Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute. He was an all-star member of the Farmingdale institute football team.
Edward married Sandra Marshut at St. Aidan’s Church in Williston Park on August 29, 1954. They were married for 60 years.
He worked commercial construction, and then built military aircraft at Sperry Rand Corporation on Long Island. He acquired a New York State professional engineer license and became proprietor of a custom-design construction business. He also served as Southold Town Engineer.
Edward later was an engineer for ARAMCO in Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia where he lived with his wife for four years. He returned to the U.S., and worked as an engineer, including projects for SUNY/Stony Brook, and the United States Department of Agriculture Plum Island Animal Disease Center. After retirement, he served as code enforcement officer for the Village of Greenport.
Edward was a member of the Jaycee’s and volunteered with Habitat for Humanity. He was a member of the Southold Yacht Club, and president of the Southold Rotary Club. He was president of the Southold Republican Club, and became a Democrat, standing vigil with Veterans for Peace.
He will be remembered for his construction talent, and sense of humor. He was an avid reader and historian of U.S. and European political history. He was politically engaged, and possessed a strong civic commitment.
Edward is survived by his wife, Sandra; daughters, Lynda and Karen Bage; a granddaughter, Coral Pondysh; and sisters Frances and Felicia. He was predeceased by brothers, Joe, Frank, and Adam; a sister, Elizabeth; and two nephews.
Posted December 3rd, 2014
John Digrindakis, age 86, a resident of Naperville since 1966 died Saturday, August 30, 2014 at Edward Hospital. He was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, August 26, 1928.
He grew up in Crete, Greece returning to the United States in 1947. After graduating from Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute (now New York University Polyechnic School of Engineering) in 1956 with a bachelors in Electrical Engineering and receiving a master’s degree (1961) in Electrical Engineering from New York University he then began a 35 year career with AT&T, Bell Laboratories now Lucent Technologies in the area of telephone switching.
John was a longtime active member of St. Athanasios Greek Orthodox Church, he served on the Parish Council for many years. His interest included traveling, music, photography and his family.
Beloved husband of Athena (nee Devaris), loving father of Daphne (Ken Rasile) Digrindakis, Elli (Michael) Koulos and Nicos (Jill) Digrindakis. Loving grandfather of Steffen (Julia) and Alayna Rasile, Amanda, Zachary and Alexa Digrindakis, Peter and Zoe Koulos. Dear brother of Michael and the late Mary Malindretos, Beloved son of the late Nicholas and Rose Digrindakis.
Posted November 26th, 2014
Nathan D. (David) Field, 88, a retired polymers research and development executive of Elkins Park, Pa., died in Meadowbrook, Pa., on June 27.
A native of New York City, Field received a B.S. in chemistry from City College of New York (CCNY) in 1945, an M.S. in chemistry from Columbia University in 1949, and a Ph.D. in polymer science and organic chemistry from Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (now New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering) in 1956.
He began his career in the textile fibers department at DuPont’s Experimental Station, in Wilmington, Del., working as a research chemist until 1962, when he became supervisor of polymer research at Arco. In 1964, he moved to GAF to serve as a laboratory manager focused on catalysts and photoresists.
From 1970 to 1981, Field worked at Playtex, eventually being named vice president of marketing and research. He supervised production, testing, and marketing of numerous consumer products and shape-wear undergarments.
Subsequently, he became vice president of R&D at Dartco Manufacturing, supervising Tupperware production and developing new heat-resistant cookware lines, before retiring in 1990.
Field authored many articles and held 45 U.S. patents. He was a member of the advisory board of the Journal of Polymer Science and chaired the annual Gordon Research Conference on Polymers in 1992.
He was a professor in CCNY’s department of chemical engineering from 1981 until 1985. In retirement, he was an adjunct professor at Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, Rutgers University, and Temple University and served as a consultant.
He was an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1949.
Field enjoyed painting, teaching biblical history, auditing college classes, attending concerts and plays, playing bridge, and participating in a book club. He will be remembered for his warmth and wit and for exploring subjects ranging from archaeology to astronomy.
He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Annette; his son, Martin; his daughters, Reesha Leone and Sara Czarecki; and four grandchildren.
Posted November 13th, 2014
Ralph Tekel, one of the last people alive to have worked on the Manhattan Project, died in Philadelphia on October 8 after a bout with recurring pneumonia. He was 94.
Tekel was born in 1920 on Manhattan's Lower East Side, to immigrant parents. After his family moved to the Bronx, he attended the rapid advance program at Prospect Jr. High School, where Nathan Birnbaum, his general science teacher sparked his interest in chemistry and suggested he take the city-wide test to qualify for entry to the prestigious (then all-male) Stuyvesant High School.
After Stuyvesant, he attended Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, continuing to live at home and studying at the kitchen table. Until graduate school, Tekel never had girls in his classes. He worked his way through college waiting tables at hotels in the Catskills and blowing glass for use in laboratories during his summer vacations.
As a researcher at the Pediatric Research Laboratories at Jewish Hospital in Brooklyn, he received two patents in 1946 and 1950 for his work in x-ray contrast media.
During graduate school, he unwittingly became part of the top secret Manhattan Project. His group at Purdue, led by Dr. Henry Hass, was known as "Project 220." They had been engaged in preparing freon-like materials called fluorocarbons. Not until after the war did they learn that these were used to separate U²³⁵F₆ and U²³⁸F₆ isotopes.
The product the team sought, perfluoroheptane, had the right properties of a refrigerant used in the process of separation. Some aspects of this process were still secret in 1999 when Tekel recorded some personal notes. He felt that 90% of the atomic bomb scientists were against dropping the bomb.
In 1949 he was awarded a Ph.D. in Chemistry at Purdue University; his thesis was on the preparation of certain fluorinated alkanes and their derivatives.
After settling in Philadelphia, Tekel worked in chemical development for the pharmaceutical industry for various companies, including Wyeth Laboratories and National Drugs. He was involved in the production of synthetic steroids, antibiotics and psychoactive drugs.
From 1965 until his retirement in 1985, Dr. Tekel was a professor of Organic Chemistry at La Salle College (now La Salle University). In addition, he served on La Salle's recommendations panel for medical school applicants and he and his wife Lillian endowed a scholarship there.
His first two marriages ended in divorce; in 1960, Tekel married for the third time to Lillian Toll Stevens. Her experience in World War II as an Army nurse and First Lieutenant in the Persian Gulf Service Command had taken her around the world. After their marriage, they began a lifelong quest together to visit all seven continents, initially visiting Iran, Iraq and other places where she had been stationed. Further travels took the couple to India, Tahiti, Papua New Guinea, the Galapagos Islands, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), the former Soviet Union, Red China, and the Antarctic.
From his mid-teens, Tekel had a serious interest in photography, first using a German Voigtlander Brilliant, later using Hasselblad, Leica, 4x5 view camera and Nikon. He was a member of several local and international camera clubs, winning numerous awards. He was ultimately able to use his knowledge of chemistry to print archival pigment prints and Cibachrome prints in his own darkroom.
Dr. Tekel is survived by his wife Lillian, daughters Linda (and John Beelitz) and Billie (and Barry Elias), step-daughters Debbie and Cindy Stevens, and grandchildren Darren and Shawn Beelitz and Blake Elias.
Posted May 8th, 2014
Richard S. Eng, 83, of Boston, MA, formerly of Newton, MA and Old
Bethpage, Long Island, NY, passed away on March 15, 2014. He was the
loving and beloved father of Mona, Douglas and Victor, faithful
husband of Annette, devoted son of Kai Lin and Tok Chin, dear brother
of June Chow and uncle of Stanley and Stephen Chow - all of the Boston
Born in 1930, Richard grew up during wartime in Taishan, China and came
to the United States in 1946. Since a young boy, he strove to
distinguish himself at school as he was aware that academic success
was a path to greater opportunity to help his family. He graduated
from Stuyvesant High School in NY with perfect attendance, City
College of New York summa cum laude with a bachelor's degree in
Electrical Engineering. He went on to earn master's and doctoral
degrees from MIT and Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute (now NYU
Polytechnic School of Engineering), respectively. He worked for many
years at MIT LIncoln Laboratory and was also employed at Northrop
Grumman, Raytheon, Textron and Block Engineering. He was a dedicated
employee who always enjoyed working with his colleagues. Most notably,
he was a member of a team which contributed to the launch of Apollo.
Richard loved his children dearly and was very proud of them. He was a
quietly friendly and kind man with modest tastes and a pure heart. He
enjoyed spending time with his children and other family members, long
walks along the Charles River, playing tennis, sailing, nature,
camping,and traveling. He battled Parkinson's for many years with
great courage, persistence and optimism. In lieu of flowers, donations
in his memory may be made to the National Parkinson Foundation, Gift
Processing Center, PO Box 5018, Hagerstown, MD 21741-5018
Posted May 1st, 2014
Curtis B. Hayworth, passed away in December,2012.
He earned his Masters of Chemical Engineering from NYU in 1947
and his Doctorate in Chemical Engineering from NYU in 1949.