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Obituaries, Sept. 2009 to March 2010

C. B. Moore, emeritus professor of physics and emeritus director of Langmuir Laboratory for Atmospheric Research, passed away on March 2, 2010. See the extended tribute to C. B. Moore.

David Lee Baker, age 55, passed away January 18, 2010 in Albuquerque, of complications of diabetes. He earned a master’s degree in geology from New Mexico Tech in 1986. He survived by his son, Duncan Baker; brother, Al Baker; and mother, Peggy Baker.

John Duletsky, a 1952 alumnus, and his wife, Ruby Lee Hawk Duletsky, both passed away on Dec. 28, 2009, under separate circumstances. In 1985, John was honored by the New Mexico Tech Alumni Association with its Distinguished Achievement Award.

John was born on Aug. 13, 1926, in Detroit, Mich. He enlisted in the U. S. Navy and spent the last two years of World War II as an aviation machinist mate/ aerial gunner. He then attended New Mexico School of Mines, where he earned a degree in petroleum engineering. He worked in the “oil patch” for several years in Texas and Venezuela, and was then employed by the U.S. Geological Survey in several western states. He transferred to USGS headquarters in Reston, Va., in 1971. Prior to his retirement from USGS/BLM, John was active in helping to generate many of the on-shore procedures and regulations concerning oil and gas development still in use.

Julie Bundy MeadowsJulie (Bundy) Meadows passed away on Dec. 13, 2009, after a 15-month courageous battle against brain cancer. Born on May 6, 1973 in Pittsburgh, Pa., she also lived in Massena, N.Y., Lynchburg, Va., and Albuquerque, N.M., where she attended La Cueva High School and went on to attend college at New Mexico Tech. After obtaining a chemical engineering degree she came to Los Alamos where she married Darren Meadows (93, BS, environmental engr.) and worked at LANL before becoming a full time mom. She continued her education earning an MBA at UNM Anderson School of Business.

Living in Los Alamos, she developed a love of mountains and outdoors. She enjoyed skiing, mountain biking, climbing Colorado’s Fourteeners, and numerous backpacking trips. Her favorite adventures included hiking in Denali and Glacier National Parks, the Wind River Range in Wyoming, and rafting the Grand Canyon. She and Darren took up the challenges and sites of many areas around the country and beyond.

Following the birth of two sons, Hayden, 6, and Cameron, 4, she became involved in community projects and programs. As a member of the Alpha Zeta Chapter of Beta Sigma Pi Sorority she worked on the Christmas Adopt-a-Family Program, supporting world programs to help struggling families and children, including working with children on the Gallup Navajo reservation.

Dave ThurstonDavid Martin Thurston died April 6, 2010, at the City of Hope Cancer Center near Pasadena, California after a nearly yearlong battle with acute mylogenic leukemia. David was a double alumnus of New Mexico Tech, having graduated in 1991 with a bachelor of basic science degree, and again in 2005 with a master of science teaching degree.

David was born in Los Alamos on September 17, 1962, on his father’s 29th birthday. For many years they celebrated a joint birthday along with that of the US Constitution. Dave grew up in Los Alamos, enjoyed the wilderness near his home, hiking and backpacking with his family and friends, skiing on Pajarito Mountain and playing baseball. The environment he encountered led to an interest in biology and geology, and then into a broad range of scientific subjects and the arts.

Dave adored his older brother Jon, who was his role model, and grew his hair long because Jon’s hair was long. In Little League, when Dave was selected as the starting pitcher, the opposing boys laughed at his long hair. The laughter ended when the first batter faced Dave’s blazing fast ball. Days later the opposing manager told Dave’s Dad that after facing Dave’s pitching half his team decided to quit baseball and play soccer. That was Dave’s contribution to the Los Alamos soccer program.

Dave was protective and compassionate, looking after his younger sisters Alisabeth and Kerri. His older sisters Laura Marie and Suzanne had to look out for themselves. Dave was mindful of any stress that the family pets might encounter and was protective of them.

After graduation from Los Alamos High School, Dave attended New Mexico Tech, to fulfill an ambition to become a high school science teacher. His part-time job at Tech was assisting in the productions and operations at Macey Center.

When Dave applied for a science teaching position at Los Alamos High School his background in theater operations and productions lead to his becoming a director of the Olions, a student drama group. He encouraged the students to be creative in their roles on stage, and they loved it, particularly in scary dramas.

Dave joined an Ultimate Frisbee club at New Mexico Tech, and later helped to get the sport underway in Los Alamos. He continued playing with a Los Alamos team until the summer before he was hospitalized with leukemia. His parents watched with pride as he outplayed those half his age. Dave had a love and thirst for knowledge and delighted in conveying knowledge and the pursuit of it to others. He sought understanding not only through science, which he was good at teaching, but also through the writings of fiction and fantasy, where he approached the writer's craft and the author’s observations of life and the universe.

As a teacher, he looked for the best in his students, seeing in them the capacity to rise to the challenges he set. They did, and he took pride in their accomplishments both academically and in extracurricular activities. To expand their knowledge and inquisitiveness, Dave created a science classroom that was like a natural museum. He was an inspiration to many of his students, encouraging them to prepare themselves through higher learning to contribute through chosen professions to make the world a better place for mankind.

The faculty, staff and students of Los Alamos High School organized a highly successful fund raiser for his medical expenses in December 2009. The students made and sold orange (the color for leukemia) wrist bands that were imprinted with “Mr. Thurston Rocks!”

Dave is survived by his dad Rodney, his mom Diane, his sister Marie and her husband Larry Gray and their daughter Desiree, his brother Jon and his wife Tali and their daughter Monica, his sister Suzanne and her husband John Murphy, his sister Alisabeth and her husband Paul Thurston-Hicks and their daughter Angela Hall and son Parker and Angela's son Azaiah, his sister Kerri, and the love of his life his sweetheart Kathryn Hayden.

A memorial for Dave Thurston was given at the Los Alamos High School Duane Smith auditorium on Saturday, April 17. Dave loved teaching. His colleagues and students were a very important part of his life.

Frank Eli Wedekind, age 76, of Knight Town Road, Shippenville, PA, died on November 6, 2009, at the Clarion Hospital.

Born on July 4, 1933, in Elk Township, Shippenville, PA, he was the son of the late Doc and Mary Cohlhepp Wedekind. Rrank graduated from Penn State University with a bachelor of science in geochemistry and then received his master’s degree from New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. He was a Professor of Chemistry and Geology and Dean of Academics at the University of Pittsburgh, Titusville, PA.

He was formerly on the Board of Directors with the Red Cross, was an avid bridge player and director of the Titusville Bridge Club, was on city council in Titusville, loved gardening, working in his orchard and on his farm. He also enjoyed playing the piano and classical music.

Frank served in the Army during the Korean Conflict. He married Barbara Kopicki on August 14, 1965, who survives.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by one daughter, Karen Wedekind Haugh and husband, Roger, of Shippenville, PA; and one son: Mark Wedekind and his wife, Kelly, of Eldersburg, MD; seven grandchildren, Skylor Wedekind, Thorin, Jaden, and Thea Haugh and Alex, Mara and Mollie Wedekind; one sister: Margaret “Ned” Ratay of Indiana, PA, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Shannon Shaw, a 1986 alumnus in petroleum engineering, passed away on Aug. 31, 2009 at his home in Corrales, NM, from melanoma. Shannon came to New Mexico Tech after graduating from Carlsbad High School and attending Texas Tech. His first professional job was with the BLM in Carlsbad, followed by the Mineral Management Service in Camarillo, Calif. In 2007, he returned to the BLM as supervising petroleum engineer with duties in New Mexico, Texas, Kansas, and Oklahoma.

 

Stephen Adair passed away on Dec. 8, 2009, at the age of 55, at his home in Santa Fe. Steve earned his bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering at New Mexico Tech in his 40s. He was a member of Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society. He had an exciting career in the petroleum industry, working on numerous offshore exploration oil rigs and natural gas fields. He traveled the world extensively. Steve loved the water. His passions were windsurfing and kite-boarding. He spent much of his life on the lakes of New Mexico and the ocean off the coast of Maui. He maintained a residence at Makawao, Hawaii, near Kanaha Beach.

 

 

The Alumni Relations Office received word of the passing of the following alumni, but no further information was available.

  • Ernest Eugene Clark, a 1942 graduate in petroleum engineering, passed away on June 18, 2009 in Odessa, Tex. He was retired from Phillips Petroleum.
  • Richard S. Crial, a 1951 graduate in mining engineering, passed away on Aug. 5, 2009. He was retired from the United States Navy and from Boeing.
  • Gary Jarvela, who received his master’s degree in physics in 1965, passed away on Nov. 10, 2006.
  • Charles Reichert, who received a bachelor’s of general studies in 1974, passed away in 2009.
  • Russel Sandberg, who received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1990, passed away on May 27, 2003.
  • John H. Stitzer, who earned a bachelor’s degree in mining engineering in 1941, passed away on Aug,. 4, 2007.
  • Raymond Stateham, who received a bachelor’s degree in geology in 1957, passed away on March 2, 2008