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Obituaries, Feb. - June 2008

Obituaries, Feb. - June 2008


[Note: in cases where donations may be made to New Mexico Tech, the address is: Advancement Office, New Mexico Tech, 801 Leroy Place, Socorro, NM 87801.]

Johanna Abney, a 2005 graduate of New Mexico Tech, passed away on April 18, 2008, after a battle with lung cancer. According to her family, she was a "caring and loving sister and daughter. Johanna loved life, she loved to hike, bike, write poetry, talk on the phone, travel, take adventures across the country, cook, eat and most of all she loved her family."
Johanna studied Earth science at New Mexico Tech, and many people knew her from geological connections. She held jobs at the Mineral Museum and the Socorro office of the Bureau of Land Management. volunteered at the Waldo Mine and the New Mexico Mineral Symposium. She also worked for a coal geologist at the Bureau of Geology.

Johanna was a 2003 recipient of scholarships from the Albuquerque Gem and Mineral Society and the Roadrunner Gem and Mineral Society. She was a member of Sigma Gamma Epsilon National Honorary Society in the Earth Sciences.

After she graduated from Tech she returned to Allergan Pharmaceuticals and worked there until the summer of 2007.

Charles Cardwell, a 1951 graduate of the New Mexico School of Mines with a degree in mining engineering, passed away in October 2003 in Sonora, Calif.

John D. Grimsley age 84, passed away in New Caney, Tex., on April 24, 2008. He was a 1949 graduate of New Mexico School of Mines, with a degree in metallurgical engineering. He worked for the Bureau of Standards in Washington, D.C., and the Naval Ordnance Laboratory in White Oak, Md., before retiring from the Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA) in Greenbelt, MD.

He is survived by his wife of nearly 59 years, Harriet (Pat) Evans Gimsley of the home; one daughter, Anne Friedrich (George) of Kingwood, TX; three sons, Charles (Hilda) of California, MD, Larry, of North Charleston, SC and Michael and his fiancé, Kristen, of Leonardtown, MD.

Edwin R. Haseloff, age 69, passed away on Tuesday, January 15, 2008, at the Lincoln County Medical Center in Ruidoso. He earned his Master of Science Teaching degree at New Mexico Tech in 1979. He was a science teacher and track coach in Cloudcroft for 25 years, retiring in 1991.

Joseph S. Horton
, a 1948 graduate of the New Mexico School of Mines, passed away on March 1, 2008 at Marian Medical Center in Santa Maria, CA.

Joe was born January 20, 1920 in Hawarden, Iowa. He was educated in Minneapolis, Indianapolis, and New York State. He then entered New Mexico School of Mines in 1939, but his pursuit of his degree was interrupted twice. First, he was on an extended dory fishing trip in the Baring Sea, on a four-masted sailing schooner out of Seattle. Second, he served in the Army Air Corps as a pilot flying out of England during World War II. Joe received his bachelor's degree in geological engineering in 1948.

His early mining experience was in mining camps in Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada. He moved to Santa Maria in 1955. At this location he was involved in mineral exploration, mine development and many operations. For over 30 years he carried out extensive exploration and drilling projects in the western United States. He evaluated potential mining opportunities worldwide.

He was a member of the Society of Mining Engineers and the Board of Directors of the New Mexico Mining Association for many years. He was also a member of the Rancho Maria Golf Club.

His survivors include his sons Joe Horton Jr. of Smith, Nev., Glenn Horton of Gardnerville, Nev., and Paul Horton of Santa Maria, Calif., daughter, Kristin Bush of Houston, Tex., and sister Kathleen Conrad of Chatham, Mass. Six grandchildren and five great grandchildren also survive.

David R. Jones
, a 1972 alumnus, passed away on March 28, 2008, at the age of 61. He was at the controls of his fishing boat, the Catch and Keep, as he and a friend headed out the Anclote River of Florida, bound for the Gulf. Jones was an avid sportsman, hunter and fisherman. He especially enjoyed overnight float trips with his children and friends on the streams in Ozark County, Mo., his wife's home, and fishing on the Gulf of Mexico.

After earning a doctoral degree in chemistry in 1976 from the University of Missouri, David worked in industrial and research positions in New Jersey, Ohio, Texas and Florida. With Owens-Corning, and later with the U. S. government-funded Strategic Highway Research Project, he developed and shared expertise in asphalt-chemistry research and was instrumental in developing an asphalt-chemistry performance specification that now is used on highways throughout the United States and internationally. Since 1993, he and his family have lived in Tampa.

David was born October 16, 1946, in Panama City, Fla. On December 19, 1974, in Columbia, Mo., he married Sue Ann Luna of Gainesville, Mo. They have two children, Sam, a doctoral candidate in chemical engineering at the University of Florida, and Reagan, a third-year medical student at the University of Miami. He is survived by his wife and children, and one sister, Susan Jones, of Albuquerque.

Chester R. McKee
passed away on March 19, 2008, in Loveland, Colo., after an 11-year battle with Alzheimer's Disease. Chester earned his master's in physics in 1967 and his Ph.D. in astrophysics in 1971, both from New Mexico Tech.

Chester McKee was born in 1942 in East Vandergrift, Pennsylvania. As an adolescent, Chester, like his father, worked at the local foundry during the summers. Meanwhile, his interest in science and philosophy took root. One of his more famous projects at that time was a medium-sized fan-boat with a five-foot propeller and an old gas engine. With this boat, designed and built with his friends, Chester explored the large Kiskiminetas River next to his house. This and other projects showed his early interest in working with people, his entrepreneurial resourcefulness and his ability to take on complex tasks without hesitation.

Upon graduating from high school, he decided to attend Duquesne University in nearby Pittsburgh where he studied Chemistry and Physics and where he met his future wife, Carol Santoro.

Shortly after graduating from Duquesne University with a bachelor's degree in physics, he and Carol moved to New Mexico where he earned his graduate degrees and did some of the first work in the simulation of supernovae explosions with the early computers of the time. It was during this period that he started his first company with several colleagues and that he and Carol began a family and raised four children.

After Chester obtained his Ph.D., the family moved to California where Chester began a research position at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. In 1976, he and the family moved to Laramie, Wyoming, where he taught part-time at the University of Wyoming and achieved a dream by starting In-Situ Inc. in the basement of the family home. In-Situ Inc., which grew to 60 employees, specializes in the design, manufacture, and worldwide sales of scientific equipment for the environmental and water-monitoring markets.

Always interested in a wide variety of subjects including philosophy, history, religion, the environment, and writing, Chester was in the process of starting work on his latest book, about the dangers of global warming, in 1997 when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. He threw himself into the research and study of the disease with a fervor that amazed his family and friends. Throughout this time, he continued to maintain his positive, can-do attitude.

Chester epitomized in many ways the American dream. He was a self-made man who came from a humble background and achieved success in many areas through his talent and hard work. He will be remembered most of all for his enthusiasm for life and belief that he should help make the world a better place.

Chester is survived by Carol and his four children, Christopher, Craig, Colleen, and Angela, his mother, Rose, his sister, Sandy Ahlquist, as well as his two grandchildren.

Dr. David I. Norman 67, passed away Monday, May 5, 2008, in Ghana, Africa. He was born June 8, 1940, in Willmar, Minn., to Lester D. and Dorothy F. (Kelly) Norman.

David graduated from Willmar High School in 1958 and got a bachelor's degree in physics from the University of Minnesota. He served in the Peace Corps in Africa from 1966 to 1968, sparking a lifelong interest in the well-being of Africa and Africans. He returned to Ghana many times for field studies. He also recruited dozens of graduate students from Ghana to continue their education at New Mexico Tech in Socorro.

The Earth and Environmental Science Department has a memorial website for Dr. Dave Norman.

Following his service in the Peace Corps, David earned his doctorate in geology from the University of Minnesota in 1976. He married Mary A. Fishburn the same year. They spent 1976 to 1978 in Norway before settling down in Socorro, N.M., where he was a professor at New Mexico Tech from 1978 until the present.

Dr. Norman was leading a trip with five graduate students in the class Geology 507. He died on route to a hospital in Accra.

New Mexico Tech President Daniel H. López said Dr. Norman was a consummate professional, an accomplished researcher and a dedicated instructor.

“Dave was a very dedicated, student-centered researcher,” Dr. López said. “He always tried to engage students in his field of work. He was more than just a great teacher and researcher. He was a wonderful human being.”

“The entire campus community shares in the loss of this exceptional man,” Dr. López said. “We extend our thoughts and prayers to his family.”

Dr. Norman was recognized internationally as an expert in the economics of mineral deposits, specifically gold, and fluid inclusions. Over 40 years, he had published dozens of scholarly articles.

In recent years, Dr. Norman began researching the environmental impacts of gold mining, which has led to widespread arsenic contamination. He developed and implemented economic, low-tech methods of arsenic remediation, Bowman said.

Dr. López said, “He took it as a personal challenge to see if we could take our latest technological discoveries to help improve water quality in developing countries.”

Dr. Norman had also been leading a research project to determine whether New Mexico Tech could use geothermal energy to heat the campus.

Dr. Andrew Campbell, a geology professor at Tech and a colleague of Norman for 25 years, said Norman was a pioneer in the field of gas analysis of mineral ore deposits. Dr. Norman developed methods of gas analysis that helped determine how ore deposits formed.

“He was a true thinker,” Campbell said. “You could always count on Dave to provide insights into whatever problems you faced. He could look at complicated data and always come up with innovative ideas.

Dave Norman was a member of the San Miguel Catholic Church and a working member of several scientific associations. David is survived by his wife of 32 years, Mary, of their home in Socorro; son, Paul Norman of Socorro; daughters: Kirsten Norman of Albuquerque, N.M. and Anna Norman of Iowa City, Iowa; sisters: Mary Wilkowske and husband, Doug of Willmar; Barbara Colburn and husband, Stan, of Andover Minn.; and Patty Radabaugh and husband, John of Willmar; and an aunt, Helen McNab of Oregon.

Milly O'Connor, a longtime member of the President's Club, passed away on March 15, 2008. Milly and her husband Gene were much-appreciated supporters of New Mexico Tech. They are survived by their daughter, Cat (96, BS)

Zane Spiegel age 81, passed away at home on February 25, 2008. He earned his Ph.D. in hydrology at New Mexico Tech in 1962

Zane was a Fulbright scholar, professor, and consultant in several countries over his distinguished career. He graduated from the University of Chicago and then earned his doctorate at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. Beginning in the 1950s, he worked for the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer and the U.S. Geological Survey.

He was an outspoken and active crusader for the protection of scarce water supplies. His work was instrumental in getting the EPA to designate the Española Basin as a sole source aquifer.

Zane is survived by his brother, Sidney, and sister-in-law, Marilyn; sons; Austin and Evan; and longtime companion Nancy Hdydock.

Allan G. Tomlinson
, a 1958 graduate in chemistry, passed away in April of 2006. No further details were available.

Tom Zimmerman
, Tech's longtime chief of Campus Police, was killed on March 24, 2008, in a vehicular accident.

Zimmerman was traveling southbound on a motorcycle on I-25, when he was hit by a northbound vehicle that had traversed the median at mile marker 156, after having first sideswiped a semi truck also traveling southbound. The driver, identified as Deborah Hughes, 48, of Mesa, Arizona, also died in the accident; she was reported to be a cousin of Zimmerman.

Zimmerman was a former Socorro County Sheriff who was named chief security guard at New Mexico Tech in 1975. He was promoted to Director of Campus Police in 1987 and retired from the post in 1999. Many Tech alumni remember Zimmerman as the friendly but firm police officer they could rely on in difficulties. (See Tom Zimmerman Retires from Campus Police.)

"When I came (to New Mexico Tech), the department was not a police department; it was a security department," said Zimmerman in a 1999 article on his impending retirement.

"The six security officers did things like unlock doors for people. We had no vehicles or radios. My first office was a broom closet in the basement of the Speare Building, which was the library then. When we were needed, we were summoned by a light on top of Workman Center," he said.

Zimmerman set about making changes. "Whenever I got a chance to hire someone, I would hire a certified police officer," he said. "When I had several on board, I requested the administration to ask the Board of Regents to approve making us an official police department. That happened, and the state authorized us as an official police department in 1981."

Zimmerman was a straight-talking man of his word, the kind of man who set an example for others to follow. Zimmerman carried his tall frame easily, looking as if he was born to wear a cowboy hat. Droll and congenial, his easy-going personality endeared him to everyone he met, but when he pulled himself up to his full height and met you eye-to-eye, he was a force to be reckoned with.

Billy Romero, a career law enforcement officer and current Director of New Mexico Tech's Campus Police Department, worked for Zimmerman for 10 years at the university, and also knew him from his years with the Socorro Police Department, when Zimmerman was sheriff.

"He was a very, very fair boss, very well respected and admired by many. I never saw him a bad mood, ever," Romero said.

"Tom was a very good man, one of the best I've ever known, and I've known a lot of them," said Ramon "Sonny" Baca, also a former Socorro County Sheriff.

"He was a very good sheriff, very fair and impartial, always willing to help people," Baca said.

Services for Zimmerman are pending. He is survived by his wife, Sally Ann, of Lemitar, son Ty and daughter Kim.