The patriarch of Delaware’s influential du Pont family has died at 103

Irénée du Pont Jr., the patriarch of Delaware’s prominent, wealthy and influential du Pont family, died Monday. He was 103.

Du Pont was the great-great-grandson of DuPont Co. founder Éleuthère Irénée du Pont de Nemours who fled France for Delaware during the French Revolution and began building a vast family fortune by producing gunpowder along the banks of the Brandywine.

His father Irénée du Pont Sr., along with his father’s two brothers Pierre S. du Pont, founder of Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, and Lammot du Pont had each served as the Wilmington-based DuPont Co.’s president. They helped expand its interests from an explosives manufacturer to one of the world’s largest chemical companies.

Irénée du Pont Jr., who had eight sisters, was the youngest and only son of Irénée and Irene Sophie du Pont, who were second cousins. 

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