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S. Donald Stookey is no household name, but his best-known invention truly is: CorningWare, the durable, heat-resistant ceramic glass used since the 1950s to make millions upon millions of baked lasagnas, tuna casseroles and other potluck-dinner dishes. The scientist, who died Tuesday at 99, created a type of glass so strong that the military used it in guided missile nose cones. His space-age material found a home in most American kitchens in the form of white dishes decorated with small blue flowers. Stanley Donald Stookey died at an assisted-living center in Rochester, New York, said his son Donald Stookey. He said his father broke a hip in a fall a few months ago and underwent surgery, but his health deteriorated. "He was one of the great glass scientists in the history of the world," said Steve Feller, a physics professor at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where Stookey earned an undergraduate degree in chemistry and mathematics and remained active in alumni activities. "Virtually everyone has had CorningWare at some point in time, and there were all sorts of spinoff applications from his fantastic work."
Stookey was born in Hay Springs, Nebraska, on May 23, 1915. His family moved from Nebraska to Cedar Rapids when he was 6. He graduated from Coe College in 1936 before earning a master's degree in chemistry from Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, followed by the MIT doctorate.