Iris Ovshinsky, 79, Alternative-energy Executive

By Eric Herschthal

Published September 01, 2006, issue of September 01, 2006.

Iris Ovshinsky, co-founder of an influential alternative-energy company, drowned August 16 while swimming in a pond near her home in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. She was 79.

Ovshinsky was serving as vice president and director of the company that she and her husband, Stanford, founded, when her life was cut short.

“We are greatly saddened by Iris’s death,” said Robert C. Stempel, chairman and CEO of the company, ECD Ovonics. “She built a corporate culture which helped us grow as a company. All of us in the ECD Ovonics community will greatly miss her and join me in extending our deepest condolences to Stan and her family.”

Born Iris Miroy in New York, Ovshinsky graduated from Swarthmore College in 1947 and received her master’s degree in biology from the University of Michigan in 1950. She went on to marry, raise two children, and then divorce before meeting and marrying Stan in 1959.

She received her doctorate in biochemistry from Boston University shortly thereafter, and founded ECD Ovonics with her husband in 1960.

Over the decades, the publicly traded company became a pioneer in research and development of nanotechnology and alternative and renewable resources. Today it holds more than 350 patents.

Ovshinsky and her husband were recently featured in the documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car?” acclaimed for its sobering portrayal of the death of the short-lived automobile.

Ovshinsky was active in the Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring for more than five decades and sent her children to Workmen’s Circle schools. She was interred last week at the Workmen’s Circle Cemetery in Akron, Ohio.



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