EDMONDS, Wash. -- John Frederick Davis, a longtime Shell Oil Co. chemical engineer who helped develop the lightweight plastic polypropylene, has died. He was 75.
Mr. Davis died Nov. 4 after a long decline caused by dementia, relatives said.
He was a native of the Wakefield section of South Kingstown, R.I. Mr. Davis graduated summa cum laude from the University of Rhode Island with a degree in chemical engineering, attended graduate school at Yale University, and spent 33 years at Shell, retiring in 1986 as a senior process engineer.
Mr. Davis played a key role on a team that worked to refine and develop uses for polypropylene, a polymer with uses ranging from dishwasher-safe plastic food containers to fiber for the indoor-outdoor carpeting found at swimming pools and miniature golf courses.
After retiring, Mr. Davis moved from Houston to this Seattle suburb, spending much of his time as a volunteer in the literacy program at Everett Community College and in the pharmacy at Stevens Memorial Hospital.
Mr. Davis leaves his wife of 47 years, Carol; a son, the Rev. John Davis, a Lutheran minister in Giddings, Texas; two daughters, Martha Tazioli of Seattle and Andrea Mansfield of Fremont, Calif.; a brother, William of Branford, Conn.; a sister, Dorothea Clairess of the Wickford section of North Kingstown, R.I.; and 11 grandchildren.
A memorial service was held last Monday.