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James Economy

March 28, 1929 -
October 26, 2021

James Economy, 92, of Urbana, passed away peacefully at 12:05 pm Tuesday, October 26, 2021, at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana.

He was born in Detroit, Michigan on March 28, 1929, the son of Peter and Vassiliki (Bessie Lalousi) Economy and brother to George. He received his BS in Chemistry from Wayne State Unive…read more

James Economy, 92, of Urbana, passed away peacefully at 12:05 pm Tuesday, October 26, 2021, at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana.

He was born in Detroit, Michigan on March 28, 1929, the son of Peter and Vassiliki (Bessie Lalousi) Economy and brother to George. He received his BS in Chemistry from Wayne State University and his PhD from the University of Maryland.

He is survived by his wife of almost 60 years, Anastasia; his four children Elizabeth, Peter, Katherine, and Melissa; three sons-in-law David Wah, Farouc Jaffer, and Glenn Mathias; eight grandchildren, Alexander, Nicholas, Eleni, James, Benjamin, Nicholas, Maximillian, and Lillian; sister-in-law Carol, nieces Georgeann and Alyssa and nephews Peter and Christopher.

An internationally-renowned polymer scientist, Jim, as he was known to his many friends and colleagues, served as Professor and Head of the Material Science and Engineering Department at the University of Illinois from 1989 until 2000, when he retired as head but continued to teach, do research, and mentor students. After his full retirement from the University in 2011, he stayed active in two companies he helped found, Serionix and ATSP Innovations. At the time of his passing, he was busy with the investigation of potential new materials for low-cost housing. Prior to his tenure at Illinois, Jim was head of the Polymer Science and Technology Department in the Research Division of IBM in San Jose, California, where his group achieved worldwide prominence for scientific and technological achievements. He came to IBM from The Carborundum Company, where he was head of chemistry. During his time there, his research was selected 14 times for the IR-100 Award recognizing outstanding technical development in American industry. From 1965 to 1972, his group developed more than 20 new materials with commercial potential and brought a number of them to the marketplace (at least four of these are still available today).

Over the course of his career, he received numerous awards in recognition of his scientific contributions, including the American Institute of Chemists’ Chemical Pioneer Award, the ACS Phillips Medal, the Schoelkopf Medal, the Herman F. Mark Award, and the Paul J. Flory Polymer Research Prize for Extraordinary Contribution to Polymer Science and Engineering. He was a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences. Jim was an inveterate optimist. His children and grandchildren benefited greatly from his positive energy and consistent support. He cheered them on but was also there to help them move past their defeats. Through this life he maintained an adventurous spirit. He and Stacy travelled widely and, later on, he particularly enjoyed family trips with all his children and grandchildren.

He never stopped learning and his interests were wide-ranging.  He liked to discuss history, music, and nature and took a keen interest in politics. A lover of classical music and opera he was also an accomplished pianist with a broad complement of favorite composers. After his retirement at age 82, he and Stacy became fixtures at OLLI courses where he relished participating in many lively discussions.

For Jim Economy the next day was always the best day.

Visitation will be from 5:00 to 7:00 pm on November 12, 2021, at Morgan Memorial Home, 1304 Regency Dr. West, Savoy.

The funeral service will take place at Three Hierarchs Greek Orthodox Church on Saturday, November 13, 2021 at 10:30 am.

Memorials in lieu of flowers nay be made to The Krannert Center for the Performing Arts or the CU Symphony Orchestra.

Condolences maybe offered at morganmemorialhome.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Service Information

Visitation Information

Date: Friday, November 12, 2021

Time: 05:00 pm

Morgan Memorial Home

Address:

1304 Regency Dr. West
Savoy, Illinois 61874

Service Information

Date: Saturday, November 13, 2021

Time: 10:30 am

Three Hierarchs Greek Orthodox Church

Address:

2010 3 Hierarchs Ct.
Champaign, Illinois 61820

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