Stephen Foldes, 95, former metallurgist

Stephen Foldes
Stephen Foldes
Posted: August 13, 2014

Stephen Foldes, 95, of Glen Mills, a metallurgist and later a pharmacist, died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease Sunday, Aug. 3, in Vitas Hospice at Fitzgerald Mercy Hospital.

Mr. Foldes trained as a metallurgist, and worked in the research laboratory in a series of jobs that took him to Bayonne, N.J.; Chicago; Dearborn, Mich.; and Reading, Pa.

His last posting in metallurgy was with General Electric at 69th Street and Elmwood Avenue in Philadelphia before being laid off in the early 1970s during a downsizing that targeted engineers. His work at GE had resulted in several patents, said his wife, Delilah.

"He was one of the engineers," said his wife. "He was over 50, so it wasn't easy. He went back to school and became a pharmacist."

Equipped with a bachelor of science degree in pharmacy, Mr. Foldes landed a job with the Rite Aid drugstore chain. He worked first at pharmacies in Media, Northeast Philadelphia, and Quakertown until retiring from Rite Aid at age 65, and then for other companies. He stopped working at 77.

Born in Czechoslovakia, Mr. Foldes was raised and educated there. He was a champion swimmer, specializing in the butterfly stroke. When World War II broke out in 1939 and the Nazis occupied Czechoslovakia, he was in Great Britain for an international swim meet. The meet was called off. Fearing conscription into the German Army, he didn't go home.

Mr. Foldes enlisted in the British Army instead. After his military service, the British paid for him to go to Cambridge University, where he earned a master's degree in metallurgy. He worked for about a decade in Great Britain, then moved to the United States, where salaries in his field were higher.

He and his future wife met when she was a physical therapist in Reading; he had gone for treatment of back pain.

While they were dating, he sent her a clipping about a woman who became beautiful when she had a makeover with new makeup, hairdo, and clothing.

"There's still hope for you," he wrote. Luckily, she thought the comment was funny.

They were married in 1955 and celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary in July.

In 1972, he used his training in metallurgy to help victims of Hurricane Agnes and its aftermath. In his leisure time, he enjoyed traveling, swimming, and playing golf.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by sons Timothy and Terence Sr.; four grandchildren; and a sister.

At his request, there was no funeral.


bcook@phillynews.com

610-313-8102

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