Lawrence F. Vassamillet

Wed, 07/08/2020 - 8:00am

Lawrence F. “Larry” Vassamillet, 95, died peacefully under the care of Hope Hospice at Shell Point Retirement Community in Fort Myers, Florida on July 3, 2020.

He was born on Sept. 14, 1924 in Elisabethville, Belgian Congo (now known as Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo). His mother, Laura Amelia Wyatt, an American Methodist missionary, was teaching school in the Congo. His father, Emile Vassamillet, had been a member of the Belgian resistance during World War I and was stationed in the Congo as a member of the Belgian military. His parents emigrated to the United States when he was three.

Larry grew up in his mother’s home town of Tilton, New Hampshire. He graduated from Tilton School and received an undergraduate degree in physics from MIT, a Ph.D. in crystallography from the University of Liege, Belgium as a Fulbright Scholar, and a Ph.D. in metallurgy from Carnegie Institute of Technology.

Intending to stay in Pittsburgh only a couple of years, he ended up making Pittsburgh his home for 30 years. He was an academic research scientist at Mellon Institute and, when it merged with Carnegie Tech to become Carnegie Mellon University in 1970, he joined the faculty and was a professor in Material Sciences.

In 1953, he married Pittsburgh native, Edie Pennoyer. He was a scientist and she was a kindergarten teacher. They were an unlikely, but perfectly suited, couple. They were married for 57 years before Edie passed away in 2011.

He is survived by their two daughters Laura Vassamillet (Charles Smith) of Sewickley, Pennsylvania and Marti Nolan (David) of Abingdon, Maryland; five grandchildren, Nicole Martino (Matt), Emilie Rubin (Max), Ryan Nolan (Brian Goslin), Maddie Leland (Aaron) and Danika Nolan (Nicolas LaFay); and five great-grandchildren, Cameron, Caleb and Calista Martino, Charlotte Leland and Dorothy Rubin. He is also survived by an honorary daughter and her husband, Jenifer and Terry Wynne of Columbus, Ohio, his brothers-in-law, Red (Sal) and Chuck, and sister-in-law Miss Anne Pennoyer Newcomb, and several nieces and nephews.

Larry was predeceased by his two sisters and their husbands, Sue and Warren Goodell and Lucie and Richard Blythe.

The family is extremely grateful to the staff of The Arbor at Shell Point for the very special care that they provided to both Edie and Larry. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial charitable contributions be made to Shell Point c/o The Legacy Foundation, 15010 Shell Point Boulevard, Ft. Myers, FL 33908 for the benefit of the employee scholarship fund.

A private graveside gathering will be held next summer in Boothbay Harbor, Maine where his ashes will be laid to rest next to his beloved Edie.