Iris Ovshinsky, 79, Alternative-energy Executive

By Eric Herschthal

Published September 01, 2006, issue of September 01, 2006.
  • Print
  • Share Share

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.






Find us on Facebook!
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.