Helmy El-Sherif

Helmy El-Sherif (MS ’61, PhD ’64, Elec Egr) of East Fishkill, N.Y., died March 10, 2012, at the age of 74.

He was born in Cairo, Egypt, on September 27, 1937, and at age 14 was the youngest ever to graduate from high school. He went on to get a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Ain-Shams University in Cairo, where at 19 he was again the youngest ever to graduate from a five-year engineering program with high honors. After graduating from college, he served as an instructor in the Electrical Engineering Department at the same university for two years.

In December 1959, he sailed to New York with only $46.00, with the goal of starting his graduate studies at Michigan State University. He obtained both a master’s and doctorate degree and subsequently joined IBM Corporation as an engineer, advancing through the ranks to the position of program director. In recognition of his efforts, IBM sent him to Harvard Business School under the Resident Study Program to obtain his master's degree in business administration, which he received in June 1980. He resumed his career at IBM and continued there until his retirement on Jan. 31, 2008.

El-Sherif was involved in many community programs. He served as a Boy Scout leader and soccer coach; he was a member of the Toastmasters, Rotary, and East Fishkill Republican Club and Committee; and he was a church deacon in charge of fellowship, youth programs, and finance. In addition, he was the chief fund agent for the Harvard Business School MBA Class of 1980. He was also a member of the Harvard Business School Alumni Association Board of Directors and taught various MBA classes at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., as an adjunct professor.

El-Sherif was predeceased by his wife, Charen S. El-Sherif. He is survived by his daughter, Jennifer L. El-Sherif, an assistant professor at Salem State University, Salem, Mass.; son, Kenneth H. El-Sherif, vice president of marketing at InSound Medical, a startup company in Newark, Calif; daughter-in-law, Diana Strenger El-Sherif; granddaughter, Alexandra Charen El-Sherif; and grandson, Andrew Strenger El-Sherif.