Gilbert Sorber, 87, inventor, anti-hunger activist

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Gilbert "Gil" Sorber, a 41-year Oak Park resident, died on April 22, 2012 in Lombard. An Eagle Scout as a youth, he graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology with a B.S. in chemistry and an M.S. in industrial engineering.

He served in the U.S. Army during the U.S. occupation of Japan, then worked at the U.S. Army's Rock Island Arsenal.

Mr. Sorber was noted for his numerical ability and spent most of his career working as a statistician for Western Electric at the Hawthorne Works and then for the parent company AT&T, where he measured and monitored the quality of telephone equipment products nationwide. He was elected a "fellow" of the American Society for Quality.

He holds U.S. and Canadian patents and was co-inventor of a machine that continuously cast copper wire, once used to manufacture copper telephone cable and currently used to manufacture household electrical wiring.

Mr. Sorber served on the Oak Park Community Relations Commission, was active for many years at the recently disbanded Austin Boulevard Christian Church and was a founding member of the Austin Community Table soup kitchen which served meals to the hungry for several years in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago.

He loved spending summers at his cabin in Michigan.

Gilbert Sorber is survived by his wife Joan Sorber; his sister, JoAnn (the late David) Mountcastle; his son, Russell (Elaine); his daughter, Mary K. (Peter Kropf); his grandson Matthew Sorber; and many nieces and nephews.

Visitation is planned for April 27 from 4-8 p.m. at Dreschler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home, 203 S. Marion St. in Oak Park. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m., April 28 at the funeral home, followed by interment at Oakridge Cemetery.

Donations to Mr. Sorber's favorite anti-hunger charity, Heifer International (heifer.org), are preferred in lieu of flowers.

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