One of Henry “Hank” Stevens’ first students at the University of Akron was Frank Kelley.
It was a polymer science class, and that student went on to become the dean of UA’s College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering.
That’s just part of the legacy of Mr. Stevens, who taught for parts of six decades at the University of Akron.
Mr. Stevens died Saturday morning at the age of 95, six days after falling while walking from his apartment at the Rockynol Retirement Community to the Westminster Presbyterian Church, where he’d been a member, elder and choir member for 63 years.
Mr. Stevens was a native of Austria, having served in the Austrian Army before immigrating to the United States in 1939.
He received his undergraduate degree in chemistry from Columbia University, and a master’s and doctorate in chemistry from Western Reserve University.
The holder of 40 patents, he worked for PPG Industries for 42 years and began teaching chemistry part time at UA from 1954 to 1963.
Following retirement from PPG, he began teaching at UA again in 1986 and was scheduled to teach his first class of the semester last Thursday.
UA officials said Mr. Stevens was the oldest faculty member at the school.
His son, James Stevens of Chicago, said along with teaching, his father loved singing in the Akron Symphony Chorus and in his church choir. He also played bridge, led bird walks and read as many as three books a week.
“He wanted to keep his mind active,” he said.
Mr. Stevens and his late wife, Jean, established the Henry C. and Jean Stevens Chemistry Fellowship in 2006, each year giving about $2,000 to UA students.
In a 2012 Beacon Journal article, Stevens said the reason he taught so long was that he just liked to stay busy.
“I’m a person who wouldn’t sit around,” he said. “I need to do something. The idea of siting in front of the tube and having nothing to do doesn’t appeal to me.”
Along with his son James, he is survived by daughter Kathy Conway of suburban Chicago, and three grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Arrangements are being made by the Hummel Funeral Home.
Memorial services will be held at a date to be announced in February at both Rockynol Retirement Community and Westminster Presbyterian Church, both of Akron.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Akron Section of the American Chemical Society, in care of Michael B. Dowell at 368 N. Main St., Hudson, Ohio, 44326. A tribute will be held to Mr. Stevens at the group’s meeting April 23.
Or donations can be made to the Akron Symphony Chorus at 92 N. Main St., Akron, Ohio, 44308.
Jim Carney can be reached at 330-996-3576 or email@example.com.