Elected in 1983
“For significant contributions in widely diverse fields of applied chemistry,
management of industrial research, engineering and development, and
national research activities.”
BY VINCENT EDGAR PAUL
SUBMITTED BY THE NAE HOME SECRETARY
HARRY W. COOVER, JR., one of the most prolific 20th-century innovators in the chemical industry and former vice president for research at Eastman Kodak, Chemicals Division, died on March 26, 2011, at the age of 94 of heart failure.
Harry was born in Newark, Delaware, on March 6, 1917. At age 16 the car he was driving was struck by a train on a railroad crossing. He survived a coma that lasted 6 weeks. Nursed back to health by two devoted sisters, he emerged as a budding scholar. He was tutored by an aunt and ultimately passed the New York Regents Exam. Hobart College was his choice for undergraduate study. There he came under the tutelage of the late Dr. Ralph Bullard, professor of chemistry. Contemplating a career in medicine, he instead chose to focus on chemical science. He earned his B.S. at Hobart, winning the Southerland Prize. He later completed an M.S. and a Ph.D. in chemistry at Cornell University. His doctoral dissertation was on a commercial synthesis for vitamin B6.
Soon after, turning down a position at DuPont, Harry joined Eastman Kodak as a research associate and was soon transferred to the Tennessee Eastman Company in Kingsport, Tennessee—and thus evolved the research arm of the Kodak Chemical Division. He quickly rose through the ranks to