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David Pensak Obituary (1948 – 2022) – Wilmington, DE | #itsecurity | #infosec | #hacking | #aihp


Dr. David A. Pensak, one of the country’s most prolific and successful innovators, passed away on August 28, 2022 at his home in Wilmington, DE.

Born in 1948 and raised in Princeton, New Jersey, to Charlotte Pensak and Louis Pensak. One of Louis’best friends was Albert Einstein, who regularly dined with the family. Though Dr. Einstein died when David was only 7 years old, his life was shaped bythe famous physicist. However, as David would say, “I remember him as a nice man, with white hair that used to sit in the sandbox with me. And when I tried to make sand figures , he’d ask me really good questions, like: “Why is it this way? What can you do with that now that you know that to be true?””

Though David credited his father and Dr. Einstein for creating an environment where he could learn the art of thinking and problem solving, he often remarked how his disabilities, such as his complete lack of color vision and his severely impaired hearing, shaped his perceptions of the world in such a way that forced him to think outside of the box. Dr. Pensak attendedPrinceton University to earn his A.B. in Chemistry and later earned a Ph.D. from Harvard University, where he worked with Nobel Laureate E.J. Corey.

He began his 30 year tenure at EI DuPont de Nemours by building upon his graduate work in applied molecular orbital theory before focusing on the broader use of applying computers to research in industrial chemistry.In the 1970s, David created DuPont’s first computational molecular modeling system, which he named after his shizu,TRIBBLE.He was a treasured mentor to young scientists in DuPont Central Research & Development

Ultimately, Dr. Pensak’s work in computers was key to the development of cyber-security as a discipline.

He pioneered using cyber-security for the protection and control of electronic documents, the foundation of which is still used in modern security today. Dr. Pensak also founded many cyber security companies, including Raptor Systems, the computer security company that developed and brought to market the first commercially successful internet firewall; Authentica, developing one of the first media digital rights protection products; and V.I. Labs/Revulytics, Inc (now part of Revenera) which provides software solutions to identify, track, and create actionable intelligence on the use and misuse of their software. He was a prolific idea generator and had an amazing breadth of knowledge; especially as he had the ability to connect in depth many disparate areas.

Even after his retirement, Dr. Pensak continued to inspire and innovate. He acted as an advisor to numerous Government agencies,both U.S, and abroad, as well as multiple universities.

At the time of his passing, Dr. Pensak ran his own research organization, The Pensak Innovation Institute. He had 38 patents and applications in fields ranging from agricultural chemistry, to solid state physics and business-process modeling, cold chain technology, biological barriers and software. He published dozens of articles in molecular chemistry and computer assisted design, and co-wrote the bookInnovation for Underdogs.

Dr. Pensak is survived by his wife of 15 years Karen Pensak, his children, Jacob Pensak, Nina Groefsema, Rae Ceretto-Alvisi, Ali Ceretto, grandson Hayden Groefsema, brother Martin Pensak and his beloved brood of Bichon Frise and cats. Dr. David Pensak made every person and place improve, either by his advice and problem solving skills, or a well placed pun to make people smile.

In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be given in David’s name to the Ronald McDonald House of Delaware on whose board of directors he served for 20 years.

The memorial service will be heldat 1:00 October 9, 2022at Schoenberg Memorial Chapel in Wilmington Delaware.

Published by Legacy Remembers on Sep. 22, 2022.

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