Nicholas Borrelli, PhD

Obituary of Nicholas F. Borrelli, PhD

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Nicholas (Nick) F. Borrelli, PhD 11/30/1936 - 1/29/2023 Nick died at Arnot Ogden Medical Center in Elmira, NY early on a Sunday morning after a brief stay, surrounded by his family. He was predeceased by his parents and his first wife, Nancy Arnold Borrelli, their son, Matthew Arnold Borrelli and his brother-in-law, John Fossett. Nick leaves behind his wife of 34 years, Kaye C. Newbury; his sister, Barbara Fossett; children from a blended family, Barbara Hope Borrelli and Stephen Arnold Borrelli; Noah Shannon and Alexis Kahn; Cara Hoffman (Marc Lepson), John Shannon, Sonia Simeoni; shared grandchildren Selena, Bianca, Marco, Eli and Jude; a great grandson, Torin; several cousins, and many nieces and nephews and family friends. Nicholas Francis Borrelli, son of Sara Josephine Bitto Borrelli and Rocco Nicholas Borrelli, was born in South Philadelphia, PA. Even though the family moved to Yeadon, PA when he was a child, he always considered himself a Philadelphian. He attended St. Louis parish elementary school in Yeadon, was an altar boy, graduated from West Philadelphia High School in 1954 and graduated with a BS in Chemical Engineering from Villanova University in 1958. Nick received his PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Rochester, where he was mentored by Dr. Gene Su. He met Nancy Arnold, by romantic chance on a bus, while they were both in graduate school at U of R. In 1962, Nick was hired as a research scientist by Corning, Inc. He never considered retirement and enjoyed 60 years working at Corning's Sullivan Park Research Facility. In 1992, he was named a Research Fellow, and a Corporate Fellow in 2007. He became one of the most highly accomplished scientists in Corning's history, with 194 granted US patents, hundreds of articles, and several books, notably Microoptics Technology, Photosensitive Glass and Glass Ceramics, and Microoptics Technology 2nd Edition. Nick, in collaboration with his colleagues, developed a number of well-known products including photochromic glass, glass polarizers, anti-microbial glass, and technologies related to optical fiber. In 2016, Nick received the President's Award from the International Commission on Glass in recognition of Outstanding Lifetime Achievements. Days before he entered the hospital, he was working in his lab at the job he loved. Part of the joy he found in his work was continual learning, mentoring younger scientists, and the collaborative process of creatively working with others, not just thinking. In an article he wrote for the Elmira Star Gazette in 1997, Nick offered this perspective on his career, "I feel fortunate to have had many exciting times during my career, most of them shared with my colleagues. You'll hear people say that so-and-so invented this and that, and so it should be. But the real fun was not derived from the eventual result, no matter how successful it turned out to be, but rather the joy resulted from the "doing." At a celebration in October 2022, marking his 60th year with Corning, he described himself as "a curious, energetic person who always wants to know how things work." He was a perfect companion for all of the kids in the family, showing endless patience and taking pleasure in their curiosity and energy, at every age, engaging in both play and philosophical discussions. He played organized sports in his teens and stayed active by playing tennis, basketball, volleyball, bike riding, jogging, kayaking, and more recently, backyard croquet. His favorite place was the ocean. His love for the Jersey Shore began when he was a toddler on family trips to Ventnor and continued in later years in Brigantine with family and friends. True to his roots, Nick was a lifelong Phillies, Eagles, and Villanova Wildcats fan. Nick was surrounded by family musicians his whole life. His father Rocco Borrelli was a professional bass and violin player. He used to say that he thought all dads wore a tux to work. All three Borrelli children, Barb, Steve and Matthew, showed early talent. He encouraged and supported musical talent and academic achievement in all of the family's kids. Nick loved music of all kinds – jazz, rock and roll, samba, opera, and was a fan of Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton. Though no musician himself, Nick was a great free style dancer who would dance anywhere to anything, most recently at RYE restaurant on Thursday evenings and in the kitchen of their house with his favorite dance partner, his wife Kaye. Nick was fully present, fully himself, funny and interested in everything and everyone he met. He left this world knowing he was loved and with a mind that never rested. If he could have stayed with all of us longer, he would have. In lieu of formal calling hours or funeral, there will be celebrations of Nick's life during the summer, his favorite season. Donations in honor of Nick can be made to The John Jones Museum, The Near Westside Neighborhood Association, and Catholic Charities of Chemung/Schuyler Counties.
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Nicholas Borrelli, PhD

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Nicholas Borrelli, PhD

1936 - 2023

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