James D. Idol Jr, PhD.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016
James D. Idol Jr, PhD.

James D. Idol Jr.,PhD, an award-winning chemist, a member of the prestigious National Academy of Engineering, native of Harrisonville, died at age 86, in Columbus, Ohio, on July 15, 2015.

A family memorial graveside service will be conducted at 10 a.m. Friday, Sept., 2, 2016, in Ridge Park Cemetery in Marshall. He will be buried next to his mother, who was a native of Marshall. Friends may sign the online register book at www.campbell-lewis.com.

Dr. Idol graduated from Harrisonville High School in 1946, received his B.A. from William Jewell College in 1949, and both his M.S. and Ph.D, the latter in 1955, from Purdue University. As a leading scientist in his field, he worked for Standard Oil of Ohio, Ashland Chemical, and as a consultant to major U.S. corporations involving research and development of plastics in common use today for packaging of a variety of processed foods and liquids, drugs, and household products. In 1988,

Dr. Idol left the commercial field to build a career in academia as a Professor II of Ceramics at Rutgers University in New Jersey, where he also was Director of the school's then newly established Center for Packaging Science and Engineering.

Dr. Idol published 59 scientific papers and was the recipient of 122 U.S. and foreign patents. He held a list of awards, such as Chemical Pioneer Award, American Institute of Chemists, and Creative Invention Award, American Chemical Society among some dozen additional awards. In 1979, at a formal black tie dinner, attended by his peers, in a New York Hotel ballroom, he received the coveted Perkin Medal, Society of Chemical Industry.

Outside or beyond his professional life, James Idol never saw a piano he didn't like. With little encouragement, he would sit down and pound out Broadway melodies with gusto. The Idol family in Harrisonville owned the Cass County Democrat, a weekly newspaper. His father, James Idol Sr. was a two-time mayor of Harrisonville. His mother, Gladys, taught English, French, Latin in local schools.

Dr. Idol is survived by his brother-in-law, Hale Montgomery of Arlington, Va., and two nieces, Anne H. Montgomery of Washington, DC, and Patricia H. Montgomery-Fernald of Ellicott City, MD.

In addition to his parents, James was preceded in death by a sister, Carol Idol Montgomery.