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.