Felice "Phil" J. DeMaria, 90, of Huntingdon Valley, former chairman of the board of Para-Chem Inc., died at home Monday of complications from a stroke.
Mr. DeMaria grew up in South Philadelphia and graduated from Central High School. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science, now the University of the Sciences. He was a chemist for several companies before joining Para-Chem in Philadelphia in the late 1950s. The company makes specialty coatings. In 1969, he developed an acrylic compound that was widely used in drapery backings.
Mr. DeMaria became director of research and then president of Para-Chem. After retiring in the 1980s, he remained board chairman until 2003.
As a pharmacy student, he dreamed of owning a pharmacy, his daughter Sandra Bilkins said. For 30 years, he worked one night a week at a South Philadelphia drugstore to keep up his skills, and took courses required to renew his pharmacy license every year.
He enjoyed gardening and tending his lawn.
For 61 years, Mr. DeMaria was married to his childhood sweetheart, Lucretzia "Grace" Lucci DeMaria. She died in 2002.
In addition to his daughter, he is survived by daughters Rosemary DeNittis and Eileen Arbuckle, eight grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.