Alex Anthony Arcus, 89, of Durham, died peacefully Thursday, March 3, 2011, at his home. Devoted husband, father, grandfather, scientist, teacher and friend, he resided in Durham since December 2004, after having previously lived in Poughkeepsie, New York, for forty years.
Alex was born in Chicago, Illinois, to the late Alexander Aligde Arcucci and the late Anne Agnes Staponick Caffarello. He graduated from Steinmetz High School 1937 and from Wright City Junior College 1941 in Chicago. He served during World War II in the U.S. Army Signal Corps from 1942 to 1946 and advanced to tech-sergeant while stationed in India. He earned a B. S. degree in chemistry from Long Island University in 1953. Alex was employed by General Dyestuff and Fairchild Engine in New York before beginning a 26-year career with I.B.M. in Kingston, Poughkeepsie, and East Fishkill, New York. He was a life-time member of the American Chemical Society.
In 1947 he married the former Mary Ann Grant, who preceded him in death in 1957. In 1958 he married the former Virginia Junette Wade. They were married for 52 years.
Alex was an active member and elder of the First Presbyterian Church, Wappingers Falls, NY, before transferring his membership to Blacknall Memorial Presbyterian Church, Durham. He was previously a member and Sunday School teacher in the First Presbyterian Church of Babylon Long Island, NY, and Clinton Avenue Methodist Church of Kingston, NY.
Alex’s love of science was fostered as a youth by an early interest in photography, along with almost-weekly Saturday trips to the science museums of Chicago. He maintained an active interest in young people’s science education throughout his lifetime and frequently provided assistance and encouragement in science projects for Boy and Girl Scouts’ merit badges, including candidates for the Eagle Scout. He served as judge at several youth science fairs in New York and was an enthusiastic collector and reader of numerous scientific books and journals.
Alex maintained a life-long interest in painting and sculpture, which began with high school art classes. He also enjoyed many hours working in his woodshop and cultivating his collection of plants, particularly various species of cacti, lilies and African violets. He was a prolific writer of letters to his family and, more recently, vigorously took on the challenge of mastering his personal computer and its associated programs.
Alex is survived by his wife, Junette, of Durham; a son, Robert, of Rochester, N.Y.; a son, David, and a daughter, Joyce, both of Durham; a granddaughter, Elizabeth, and a grandson, Alexander, both of Rochester, N.Y.
Funeral services will be held on Sunday, March 13, 2 p.m., at Blacknall Memorial Presbyterian Church, with The Rev. Allan Poole presiding. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the North Carolina School of Math and Science in Alex’s honor, as well as to Blacknall Memorial Presbyterian Church.
The Arcus family is under the care of Hall-Wynne Funeral Service, Durham. www.hallwynne.com select obituaries.