302-478-7100 Wilmington & Hockessin, DE

Rudolph A. Carboni

Rudi Carboni passed away peacefully in the early morning dawn on March 4, 2019. He was 96.

Born in Yonkers N.Y., Rudi put down roots in Wilmington DE upon completion of his PhD, accepting employment at the DuPont Co. He remained in the area for the rest of his life raising his family and enjoying the enduring friendships made here in his early post college days.

His father Aristide and his mother Serafina sowed the seed of the importance of finding the path to your life’s purpose. Rudi’s life took two parallel paths; one in science, and the other in the world of music and poetry.

The piano served as one of Rudi’s life-long companions since childhood. Family and friends have cherished memories of piano music drifting through the house at all hours. Beginning with classical training, then moving on to jazz, Rudi performed professionally in his earlier years in New York City. Later he enjoyed playing as a hobby with friends in jazz combos.

It was a high school physics teacher who helped Rudi tap into the sciences in what would become his life’s career. He attended Columbia College and chose the path of chemical research, which fueled his passion for the pursuit of knowledge.

His education was interrupted when he enlisted in the Army at the end of his junior year, wanting to contribute to the country’s effort in WWII. He was in the amphibious corps and took part in battles in the Philippines and Okinawa.

He reenrolled at Columbia after the war earning his bachelor and masters, then went to work for Pfizer doing research. He considered this the turning point of his life as he met his future wife Polly (Pauline Martin from Rumford ME) who also worked at Pfizer. They made the move to Boston where Rudi returned to academia to get his PhD at MIT. Polly proudly said she got her PhT (putting hubby through). They were married for 45 years until her death in 1994.

Rudi’s career began at DuPont in Central Research, which led to 20 patents. Over time, he moved from research into various management assignments, and technical ventures. When he decided it was time to retire he agreed to stay on to act as director of University /Industry Collaborations.

Upon retirement his energies shifted from career to writing, composing music and poetry. He co-authored “Shadows on a Lotus Pond” with Gwen Chen, and composed and published a volume of original compositions “Fun Pieces for the Piano” for piano students. He served on the Board of the Directors of the Music School of Delaware. He also took up writing poetry and sought to refine his skills by submitting work to poetry publications for critique. “How can you get better if you don’t open up to criticism” he’d say.

As a friend, mentor and grandfather he was an ardent listener, and wanted to know the special quality of whomever he was with. He loved to engage with his grandchildren who reveled in the interest and attention he took in them. Big, noisy family gatherings were a trademark ritual, as were years of gathering for Eagles games capped off by last year’s Super Bowl.

Rudi pursued the path of his life’s purpose right up until the end. He attended classes at the UD Academy of Life Long Learning, where he also taught.

Rudi is survived by his four children; Judy, Leslie (and her husband Jon), Valerie, and Rolf (and his wife Jeanne) and six beloved grandchildren. He imbued his family and all who knew him with a sense of joy in life’s adventure.

Funeral Services

Interment will be private. A life celebration will be scheduled at a later date. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Osher Lifelong Learning Institute or The Music School of Delaware.


    Jamie Martel lit a candle and writes,
    To the Carboni family: Judy, Leslie, Val and Rolf: So sorry to hear about your Dad. What a life he lived though...so impressive in every way. Thinking of you all during this difficult time.
    03/08/2019 09:35 am
    Johanna keresztes writes,
    To Leslie and Carboni family, please accept my deepest sympathy and heartfelt condolences. Rudi’s knowledge, colorful personality and piano “solos” were always helpful in making “The Day” a better one. We will miss him!!! Johanna Keresztes
    03/08/2019 11:03 am
    Kevin Jornlin writes,
    Leslie and family - My prayers are with you. The obit was such an absolutely PERFECT tribute to your father and while I did not know him, I felt like I was reading a short story about an incredibly interesting man who lived an amazing life with so many interests and experiences. What a great example of "A LIFE WELL LIVED"! All our love - Kevin and Ginger Jornlin
    03/08/2019 11:07 am
    Terri Ben lit a candle and writes,
    What an amazing man and life he lived. Although I never met him send my condolences to his family, especially my friend Judy!!!
    03/11/2019 04:00 pm
    vince witterholt writes,
    Dear Judy, Leslie, Valerie, Rolf and Family, It is with a heavy heart that I send our condolences to you on the passing of your father. It is a great loss to be sure. You have to be thankful that he was in your midst for such a full productive lifetime. I too was blessed to know him as a dear friend, mentor, and in many respects as an older brother. He remains in my thoughts and prayers. Sincerely, Vince Witterholt and Family
    03/14/2019 06:11 pm
    Penny Gromatzky writes,
    Oh Leslie, We are so sorry for you and your family.... What a darling Man; I know you will miss him, but remember his memories are there close day by day which is so great too. God loves you and will comfort you too. God Bless you All! You were a great daughter too to him and I’m sure he appreciated you so much too❤️
    03/21/2019 08:25 am

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