Published: October 11, 2022
PRINCETON, MASS. — David “Dave” Krashes, 97, died peacefully at home on Friday, September 30. He was born and raised in Woodmere, N.Y., the son of David and Jennie (Goldman) Krashes and lived in Princeton for more than six decades.
Dave will be lovingly missed and remembered by his wife of 66 years, Barbara (Payne) Krashes; his daughters Stephanie Opalka of Harvard; Lisa Begley and her husband, Paul, of North Brookfield; his son, Peter Krashes and his husband, Oliver Herring, of Brooklyn, NY; and his grandchildren, Meg, Lucy, and Suzy Opalka and Nick and Ryan Begley. He was predeceased by his sister, Ruth Jolis; and his son-in-law, Zbigniew Opalka.
Dave graduated from Woodmere High School and, following a brief stint at Ohio State playing football for Coach Paul Brown, he enlisted in the Army in 1943. He proudly served in the 393rd Infantry Regiment, 99th Infantry Division as a rifleman and earned a Bronze Battle Star and a Purple Heart fighting in the European theater. He returned home in early 1945 following injuries received at the Battle of the Bulge. When the war ended, he went back to Europe to hike and climb in the Alps for a year. This ignited a lifelong passion for exercise and the outdoors.
After completing his military service, Dave attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Physics, a master’s degree and PhD in metallurgical engineering in 1958. He then worked as a professor and lacrosse coach at Worcester Polytechnic Institute for several years. In 1961, he founded Massachusetts Materials Research, Inc. Dave led the company to successfully acquire Connecticut Metallurgical Inc. and Lehigh Testing Laboratories, Inc. before his retirement in 1998. He was a leader in showing the metallurgical profession that microscopy and electron microscopy were primary tools to use in evaluating failed products and was a pioneer in the techniques of failure analysis as they are practiced today. In 1970, he was honored for his work by being named in the first class of Fellows of ASM International (Association Of Materials-Centric Engineers & Scientists), formerly American Society for Metals. Between 1981 and 1982 he served as President of ASM.
Inspired by their 1780s farmhouse, Dave and Barbara were avid collectors of Nineteenth Century New England furniture and folk portraits and ultimately built one of the most important private collections of folk art in the country. In 2015, some of their collection was exhibited at the Worcester Art Museum, with more than 40 pieces ultimately donated to the museum. They were also longtime supporters of Old Sturbridge Village, Mass., as well as the American Folk Art Museum, New York City.
Dave was a regular participant in Princeton’s civic life. He estimated he attended more than 700 meetings on school affairs between 1960 and 1966 as he helped to convince the town a new school (to become the Thomas Prince School) would be needed. He served on the town’s Conservation Commission in the 1970s, the Road Study Committee in the 1980s and also organized a protest when swimming off of the dam at Comet (Asnacomet) Pond was closed. This led to the creation of a regional beach in Hubbardston, N.J., which is still used by local residents. In 2003, Dave and Barbara helped fund the Princeton Park and Soccer Field Development Project, now known as Krashes Fields.
From canoeing on the upper Hudson River with RPI friends, bush-whacking through the Wind River Mountains before trails had been constructed, or skiing down Tuckerman’s Ravine, Dave loved to spend time outdoors with friends and family. From 1963 to 1996 Dave was a volunteer ski patrolman at Stratton Mountain in Vermont, and he skied until the age of 88.
Dave was an honorary member of the Boys and Girls Club of Worcester, Mass. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Boys & Girls Club of Worcester, Attention: Liz Hamilton, 65 Boys & Girls Club Way, Worcester, MA 01610.
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