Harry John Demas, age 91, passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by his family on February 23, 2021. The family will greet friends Sunday, February 28, 2021, from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. in Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church of Westfield, New Jersey. Trisagion prayer service and burial will be held at the church on Monday, March 1, 2021 at 11:00 a.m.
Harry was born in Athens/Piraeus, Greece, on October 30, 1929. At age nineteen, he came to the United States to attend Lowell Technological Institute (now University of Massachusetts at Lowell) where he distinguished himself as a member of the Air Force ROTC, the Varsity Club for Soccer, Delta Kappa Phi Fraternity, and the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Textile Chemistry.
In 1954, Harry began his career as a research chemist in Hopewell, Virginia, with Allied Chemical and Dye Corporation, the predecessor of Allied Signal Corporation and now Honeywell. There, he put his occupational deferment from the Air Force to good use, developing a finish for silk parachutes that prevented them from igniting when deployed. In turn, that finish was instrumental in leading to commercial applications such as static guard.
It was also in Hopewell, Virginia, that Harry met and married the love of his life, Pauline (Polly) Doukas. Together, they embarked on a 64-year journey that culminated in what Harry would call his life’s greatest achievement—his family. Pauline often traveled with Harry, serving as hostess on his domestic and international business trips, and on many occasions, one or more of their children accompanied them.
During his 43 years with Allied, Harry served the fibers business in a variety of assignments, including research, product development, planning, sales, marketing, and general management. He authored and co-authored many technical, scientific, and commercial papers, has several patents issued in his name, and has been featured in many US, European, and Asian technical, scientific, and business magazines and newspapers.
Harry retired from Allied Signal in 1997, as Vice President and General Manager of Industrial Fibers, where he directed all facets of Nylon, Polyester, and Spectra fibers operations, on a worldwide basis with manufacturing, research and development, and sales facilities in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. In retirement, he continued to serve as a consultant and on the board of businesses associated with the industrial fibers industry.
Harry continued to travel extensively after retirement and shared those experiences with his family—visiting in Greece, fishing in the Canadian Yukon, rafting down the Colorado, panning for gold in Alaska, photographing wildlife on an African safari, and many, many trips to Disney World with children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Though Harry and his wife Pauline retired to their home in Naples, Florida, they always returned to Bay Head, New Jersey, each summer to be closer to their ever-growing family and to host the infamous cousins week at Demalot.
An active and faithful member of his church, Harry was instrumental in building three Greek Orthodox communities and served on the parish council boards of the Greek Orthodox churches of Saint Elpis in Hopewell, Virginia, Holy Trinity in Westfield, New Jersey, and Saint Katherine in Naples, Florida, where he also served as President from 1999 to 2003, Chairman of the building committee, and founding member of the Christian Rights and Religious Freedom Institute at Saint Katherine. Harry was a member of the Metropolitan Council of the Metropolis of Atlanta and a member of Leadership 100. For his service to the church and the Orthodox Christian community, Harry was honored as an Archon Aktuarios of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 1998.
Harry is survived by his loving wife Pauline Doukas Demas; his devoted children: Gari Demas and Jack Fairweather of Summit, New Jersey, John Demas and Suzy Stumo of Lake Forest, Illinois, Beth Demas and Darrick Anderson of Basking Ridge, New Jersey, Tina Demas and Chris Couch of Austin, Texas, and Tricia Demas and Jeff Anderson of New York, New York; his adoring grandchildren: Trish Fairweather and Dom Cody, Tabitha Demas and Evan Steiner, Tiffany Demas, Carly Fairweather, Kathryn Anderson and Robert Leonard, Harrison Demas, Christopher Anderson, Charlton Demas, Victoria Anderson, Zoe Anderson, Troy Anderson, Quentin Couch, and Calia Couch; five great-grandchildren: Bennett and Griffin Cody, Theo and Esme Steiner, and Isla Anderson-Leonard; his big sister, Neetsa Hatzifthimiou of Kavouri, Greece, and many beloved nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 250 Gallows Hill Road, Westfield, New Jersey, St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church, Airport Pulling Road, Naples, Florida, or Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Research in New York.
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