Julian Feldman, a retired research chemist who had lived in East Hampton since 1998, died at Stony Brook University Medical Center Friday after he decided to be taken off life support following a prolonged hospitalization. Mr. Feldman was hospitalized after a fall at a house he shared with his daughter, Diana Zadarla, and her husband, John Zadarla, his family said.
In 1981, Mr. Feldman became a senior research scientist at National Distillers and in 1982 he retired from the company with 40 patents in chemistry. He was a member of the American Chemical Society, and had been a regular participant in the Gordon Research Conferences for the presentation and discussion of frontier research in the sciences. He is listed in “Who’s Who of American Scientists,” and is mentioned in science textbooks, and other publications.
He was born in Brooklyn to Fanny Rossum and Bernard Feldman on May 24, 1915. He attended New York City public schools, including Alexander Hamilton High School and the City College of New York, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and from which he graduated in 1935 with a degree in science.
While filling ampules for a pharmacist by day, Mr. Feldman attended graduate school at night, first at Brooklyn Polytech, then at Brooklyn College. He completed a master’s degree in chemistry in 1940, and presented a first paper at the American Chemical Society in Detroit. He then set up laboratories and taught analytic techniques to pharmaceutical chemists.
In 1941, he accepted a Civil Service offer from the Department of Agriculture to work in its research laboratories in Beltsville, Md. He lived in Washington, D.C., and wrote a number of papers about his work. After a brief stint with a pharmaceutical company in Chicago, he returned to Brooklyn.
World War II had started, so Mr. Feldman enrolled in advanced explosives at Columbia University. Though designated 1-A and ready to serve in the military, because of his expertise, Mr. Feldman was employed by the National Defense Committee at its facility in Brewster, Pa., developing explosives.
Later, he received an offer from the Bureau of Mines to work on synthetic liquid fuels. He headed its laboratory for eight years and received a doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh in 1950.
There he met Viola Borden, who had grown up in the same neighborhood in Brooklyn. They married in May 1944.
In 1953, Mr. Feldman received a job offer from National Distillers Chemical Corporation in Cincinnati.
While working as a group leader at National Distillers/U.S. Industrial Chemical by day, Mr. Feldman further developed an interest in photography, building a darkroom. He became active in photography clubs and in publicity, taking production stills for community theater groups, in which his wife was active as an actress. He was proud of his innovations in theatrical photography and of receiving the Art Rouse Award for his contributions to community theater. He also designed sets, directed plays, and was active in the Ohio Community Theater Association. He enjoyed driving, and took his family on annual trips exploring the eastern half of the United States and Canada.
A friend and mentor from Pittsburgh, Dr. Milton Orchin, invited Mr. Feldman to be a postdoctorate fellow in research at the University of Cincinnati. Mr. Feldman headed the lab there until 1998, and helped steer postdoctoral students to careers at industrial companies
His wife died in 1995. In 1998 after their house was sold, Mr. Feldman moved to East Hampton to live with his daughter. Here, he took up walking, and became a familiar figure around Springs and Amagansett.
He volunteered for the 2000 Census, and worked as a poll watcher for every election in town until a year ago, retiring at 95. He loved being near the water and visiting Bob and Marie Valenti and Nadine Nielsen at Amagansett’s Multi-Aquaculture Systems every Sunday. He also became quite a cook, his family said, working on dishes as a chemist might, adjusting temperatures unconventionally, and offering admirers his “formula” for gazpacho.
His family said he was fair and honest and possessed a great sense of humor and remarkable intelligence. He had said that “he was most proud of raising three great kids.”
In addition to his daughter, Mr. Feldman is survived by his sons, Alan Feldman of Salem, Va., and Dr. David Feldman of Highland Heights, Ohio. He had four grandchildren, six nieces and nephews, and a cousin. An older sister, Leona Stillman of Piermont, N.Y., also survives.
Mr. Feldman’s family suggested donations in his memory to the Amagansett Fire Department Ambulance Company, Box 470, Amagansett 11930.