Helmuth Prochaska 1931-2003
Helmuth Prochaska was born April 1, 1931 to Paul and Albine (Linke) Prochaska in Niemes in the Sudaetanland area (now the Czech Republic) of Europe. As a boy,
always in search of adventure, his idyllic childhood was abruptly halted with the advent of World War II. With all the other Germans living in the area, his family was
ordered to leave the region and they spent the next two years as displaced persons, moving from one community to another in search of food and work.
Finally settling in Wuppertal, Germany, Helmuth was able to resume his education. Upon completion of high school, he worked as a pharmacy apprentice, then
entered the Textile Engineer School in Krefeld, where he received his Diploma. He spent his entire career with Bayer AG, coming to Rock Hill, SC, in 1958 to develop
the sales and manufacturing area for textile printing products at Verona Dyestuffs, later Mobay Corporation.
In the early '70s he was transferred to the divisional headquarters in Union, New Jersey, later becoming General Manager of Harmon Colors in Haledon, NJ and a
Director for the Dyes and Pigments Department of Mcbay/Bayer Corp. His work consumed him and later in life he regretted the toll it took on his family. He had high
expectations for himself and made those same demands on others around him, making him an exacting task master, yet he was always willing to share his expertise.
Taking early retirement in 1987 he returned to Lake Wylie, SC, where he founded Pro Chem of York County and later Spectra Colorants in Union,SC.
Helmuth's search for adventure continued throughout his life. Climbing Ayers Rock in Australia, wind surfing on Lake Wylie, skiing in Colorado and British Columbia,
white water rafting, parasailing, or snorkeling. He enjoyed traveling, meeting new people and experiencing other cultures. He was a wonderful host with amusing
stories of his escapades. Although he achieved much in his lifetime, his greatest sources of pride were his children and grandchildren.
Even as his health failed in later years, talking business revived him and he so enjoyed the visits of colleagues to relive the "good old days" in the textile printing
industry. After a valiant battle with cancer, Helmuth passed away on February 3, 2003. He was predeceased by his son Hans in 1998 and survived by his wife Beverley,
daughters Eva and Irene, and grandchildren David, Michael, Mark, Sarah, Erica, Matthew, Chris and Eric.
Source: Beverley Prochaska, personal communication, 2004.
Service award ceremony at Verona Bayonne, NJ plant Dec. 6, 1972. Left to
right: Fred Hilger, VP Sales; Helmuth Prochaska, Technical Marketing;
Joseph White, operator; David Boyd; Michael Ferraro; George Struzyna,
Engineering Manager; Vincent Daniel, Personnel Manager.
Harmon Colors Corporation management at the Lake Office in North
Haledon, NJ, March 23, 1977. Left to right: William Parle, former VP of
Allied Chemical; Wilhelm C. Ostern, Executive VP Mobay; Dr. Gerhard
Dittmar, Board of Management of Bayer AG; Dr. Heniz Machatzke,
President of Harmon Colors; Prof. Dr. Herbert Gruenewald, Chairman
of the Board of Management of Bayer AG; Helmuth Prochaska,
General Manager of Harmon Colors; James H. Alexander, Board
Chairman of Harmon Colors.
From Left to Right: Dr. Heinz Machatzke, President of HCC, Mr. James
H. Alexander, Board Chairman of HCC, Mr. William C. Ostern,
Executive Vice President of Mobay Chemical Corporation, Dr.
Gerhard Dittmar, Board of Management of Bayer AG, Mr. Lou Cochet,
Manager of Operations of HCC, Prof. Dr. Herbert Gruenwald,
Chairman of Board of Management of Bayer AG, Mr. George Ricks,
Plant Manager of HCC, Mr. Helmuth Prochaska, General Manager of
HCC, March 23, 1977.
Harmon Colors management on a break while working in the plant
during strike, May 1979. Left to right: Helmuth Prochaska, General
Manager; Dr. Peter Mertens, Manufacturing Director; Georg Ricks,
Plant Manager; Lou Couchet, Administration Manager
Helmuth Prochaska, Harmon Colors General
Manager, working near a filter press during
the strike of 1979.
Original Management of Verona Dyestuffs Division of Mobay
Chemical Corporation Reunite at Bayer Corporation Bushy Park, SC
Plant in Spring 1997. Left to right: Alex Frirdich, President Bayer Inc.,
Canada; Mrs. Frirdich; George Struzyna, VP Engineering; James H.
Alexander, Executive VP Mobay Chemical Corporation; Mrs.
Alexander; Mrs. Machatzke; Dr. Heinz Machatzke, President; Mrs.
Prochaska; Helmuth Prochaska, General Manager of Harmon Colors
By Robert J. Baptista May 30, 2010
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