Robert Sites Voris (May 6th 1920 to March 13th 2002) received a BS degree in chemical engineering from Penn State and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Illinois. He was a member of the Alpha Chi Sigma Chemical Fraternity and a member of the American Chemical Society. Bob retired from Hercules Inc at the age of 56 after 34 years as Manager of Research and Development in the Aerospace Division, specializing in chemical propulsion. Earlier at Hercules, he had served as a Research Chemist and Manager of the Central Research Division in Polyolefin, Polymer Fabrication and New Products. After his retirement, he spent 6 years as a private consultant for Monkman-Rumsey as an associate and Manager of Multi-client Services in 1983, primarily for Hercules, where his principal field of study was the investigation of composite materials in automobile design.
As a young man, he was an Eagle Scout and wrestled in high school. His drive in these formative school years allowed him to graduate two years early from high school where he was #1 (Valedictorian), with his girlfriend #2 and sister Dot #3 out of a class of 200 from Hagerstown High School, Class of 1936. His study and efforts during the war on delousers for military and civilian populations excused him from duty during World War Two, and he still continued his work on pesticides in the post war years.
He eventually married M.E. (Mary Ethelyn) an undergraduate whom he tutored in Chemistry as a Ph.D. student at Univ. of Ill. Their three children all graduated college and hold professional positions, and he is also survived by 5 grandchildren and a great granddaughter on the way.
An explosives and aerospace expert supervising many satellite projects throughout the 1960's and 1970's, he was loaned by Hercules to the Nuclear Energy Commission in the 1950's. Hercules Inc of Wilmington DE grew with Bob from being a manufacturer of smokeless gunpowder to developer of solid rocket boosters and became an early developer of propellants for air bags in cars. (For instance, the Alliant facility in Magna Utah now produces the solid-rocket launch vehicles for all Mars missions.) Bob's involvement included pioneering graphite fiber for satellite ribs and struts and it's later commercial use in golf clubs, fishing rods and bicycle frames. Bob was also involved in pesticides, polymer research, and stain resistant carpets. In the paper and pulp fields, the casting of polymer sheeting has all but eliminated the typesetting of want ads in most major newspapers.
His value within Hercules moved the family twice, and his value to the nation during the cold war once impacted his only trip abroad. In 1960, his wife could continue past CheckPoint Charlie to continue sightseeing of the museums in East Berlin, while Bob was required to remain in West Berlin.
Although never trained in music, he was a great fan of jazz and Frank Sinatra and was self-taught, but proficient on the recorder and tonette. He was also an accomplished Gilbert & Sullivan performer in his 20's as part of a performing troupe of work cronies.
His retirement time included large amounts of volunteer work: Many years as Treasurer for the Delaware SPCA, where he and his family were known to adopt several animals and strays, including a tailless black cat named Sam. Volunteer work for Mended Hearts for Recovering Heart Bypass Patients. Serving on the Delaware Grand Jury for a full year. Appointment to the Planning Board of Stone Harbor NJ where he assisted in instituting height restrictions, the downtown promenade and a ban on commercial windfarming. Secretary and Manager for the publication of genealogical research of the Van Voorhees Association.
He was blessed with good health until later in life, where he was troubled by gout in his 50's, appendicitis at the age of 66, a six-part bypass at 71, orally-controlled diabetes, prostrate cancer, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and finally gall bladder cancer. Throughout the illnesses encountered toward the end of his life, through home-care and hospice, Bob never was confined to nursing home care.