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Obituary: Robert Charvat, color expert

By: Bill Bregar

February 7, 2014

Robert Charvat, an expert in colorants for plastics, died Jan. 9 at his home in Milford, Ohio, after a long battle with heart disease. He was 83.

A memorial service will be held March 1 at 2 p.m. at the Bay Lodge, 492 Bradley Rd. in Bay Village, Ohio.

A native of Cleveland, he earned a mechanical engineering degree from Fenn College. He had a 57-year career in colorants, where he remained as a consultant and teacher, giving seminars and lectures, until his death.

He was active in the Society of Plastics Engineers' Color & Appearance Division. He published the textbook "Coloring of Plastics: Fundamentals," in 2003.

His helped develop the plastics color matching program at Terra State Community College in Fremont, Ohio — believed to be the only one of its type in the nation. He taught night courses there, driving from his job running the color pigment section of Englehard Corp.'s Harshaw Chemical laboratory in Cleveland.

Charvat served on the Terra College Foundation Board, and helped solicit equipment for the two-year color matching program.

At SPE, he served as chairman of the Color & Appearance Division's education committee. He ran frequent tutorial sessions.

Fellow SPE activist, Bruce Mulholland, said Charvrat's most important contribution to color education was working to start and promote the Terra College program. Before that, colorants for plastics were usually learned on the job.

"Bob's involvement with education in the field of coloring of plastics is unparalleled," Mulholland said. "Most other aspects of the plastics industry have many avenues for teaching and preparing individuals for careers in industry. The coloring of plastics industry has basically two — the undergraduate program at Terra and continuing education seminars offered by organizations like SPE. Bob Charvat is the common thread to the success of both of these avenues and the growth and success of our industry."

Memorial donations may be made to the SPE's Color & Appearance Division's Bob Chavrat Memorial Scholarship Fund. SPE is based in Newtown, Conn.