Emil John Volcheck, Jr. passed away peacefully on January 24, 2009, at the age of 78.
He was born in 1930 and raised in Omaha, NE. In 1952, he completed a BS in Chemistry at MIT. He was active in the new campus radio station WMIT and managed it during his senior year. He earned a doctorate in organic chemistry at UC Berkeley in 1955.
Dr. Volcheck made his 34-year career with the DuPont Corporation, starting in
1955 as a Research Chemist conducting laboratory research on Nylon. After nine years at the bench, he joined technical management and supervised research and development on a variety of textile products, including Dacron (a kind of polyester used in clothing), Nomex (a heat-resistant fabric used to protect firefighters), and Qiana (an artificial silk related to Nylon popular in the 1970s), until his retirement as a Research Manager at the DuPont Experimental Station in Wilmington in 1989.
Dr. Volcheck avidly pursued astronomy and computing, at first as hobbies, then later expanding into community service. His interest in astronomy began in high school, when he made his first telescope. He was active in the Delaware Astronomical Society starting in 1958 and served in several offices including President. It was at a DAS "Star Party" that he met his wife, the former Diana Burgess. He assembled telescopes and built backyard observatories in three places where he lived: Kinston, NC; Chattanooga, TN and West Chester, PA. In recent years, he managed the Mount Cuba Astronomical Observatory, frequently hosting and lecturing at their Public Nights and overseeing a research effort on observation of white dwarf stars. He developed a particular interest in cosmology.
In the 1970s, he developed a fascination for computers and founded the Main Line Computer Users Group (MLCUG) and served as its president. At the West Chester Area Senior Center, he ran the "Computer Forum" where his frequent presentations on computers were well-received. He held office in the Commodore Mailink users group.
During his life he successfully combined his interests in astronomy, computers, electronics and photography to great effect.
The family offers special thanks to Nurse Laurie Clark of Neighborhood Visiting Nurses and Nurse Jerry McGuinness for their support and compassionate care.
He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Diana; son Emil J. III and daughter-in-law Kathleen Wilsbach; son Christopher J.; daughter Juliana M.; and family member Jeremy Good. Also by sister Jeannine M. Miller and brother Ronald N. Volcheck both of Omaha.
Relatives and friends are invited to his Funeral Mass 10 am Friday January 30, 2009 at St. Maximilian Kolbe Church 15 East Pleasant Grove Road West Chester, and where his visitation will be held from 9-10 am. Interment Birmingham Lafayette Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to the Mt. Cuba Observatory, P.O. Box 3915, Greenville, DE 19807, website http://mountcuba.org/.
Arrangements by DellaVecchia, Reilly, Smith and Boyd Funeral Home, Inc. West Chester, 610-696-1181 www.drsfh.com