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Obituaries, June - Nov. 2001

Obituaries, June - Nov. 2001


[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.]

Jeffrey Bollschweiler, a 1975 graduate of New Mexico Tech, passed away in late October 2001. He was a resident of Las Cruces.

Jeffrey was born in El Paso on Oct. 31, 1951. In 1954, his family moved from Las Cruces to Tucumcari, where he spent his childhood. He graduated from Tucumcari High School in May 1969 and enrolled at New Mexico Tech the following fall. He graduated with a bachelor of science degree in petroleum engineering. For the next 12 years, Jeffrey worked throughout the petroleum industry as a field drilling and completion engineer for Halliburton, Southern Union Exploration, and others. In August of 1986, Jeffrey and his family moved to Las Cruces. In April of 1987, he went to work for the HELSTF (high-energy laser facility) at White Sands Missile Range as an employee of Lockheed. At the time of his death, Jeffrey was still employed at the HELSTF facility, where he served as Operations Manager for Logicon.

Jeffrey is survived by his mother Marjorie of Tucumcari; his daughter Candi, son-in-law, Dustin, and grandson, Austin Tinsley of Neligh, Nebraska; son Michael of Farmington; son Stephen of Las Cruces; the mother of his children, Charlene, of Farmington; and his brother David, sister-in-law Melissa, niece, Leah, and nephew, Glenn, of Las Cruces.

Jeffrey was an enthusiastic outdoorsman who loved hunting, fishing, hiking, boating, and waterskiing. He loved sharing his outdoors adventures with his family and friends. One of his proudest accomplishments was earning a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, a martial arts form he studied and practiced. Jeffrey's other hobbies included rebuilding and restoring classic vehicles, motorcycle riding, and reading.

Salomon E. Chavez, age 87, passed away on July 25, 2001 at Arbor Hills Nursing Center in La Mesa, Calif. He was born on July 27, 1913 in Hillsboro, N.M. After graduating from the New Mexico School of Mines in 1935 with a bachelor's degree in mining engineering, he worked in the silver mines of Silver City, N.M., before moving his family to the San Diego area in 1942. There, he was employed by the Consolidated Aircraft Corporation as a mechanical engineer. He retired from General Dynamics in 1973.

Solo, as he was known to family and friends, is survived by his wife of over 66 years, Josefita of Fletcher Hills, Calif.; daughters Cora Olguin of Las Cruces, N.M., PreAnn Chavez of El Cajon, Calif., Joanne Ralston of El Cajon, Calif, Victoria Toddre of Reno, Nev., Linda Peacock of Bend, Ore.; and son Carl Chavez of Graeagle, Calif.; as well as brother John Chavez of Albuquerque, N.M.

Solo's son Carl found an excerpt from his father's diary, recalling how difficult it was to pay for college during the Depression:

    "It was 1931, and I had just graduated from Socorro High School with really good grades. I went to see Dr. Wells, the President of the School of Mines, whom I knew slightly, and asked him for a job at the school. He said it was not their policy to give work to freshmen but if I passed the first year with good grades, he would for the later years. Well, I did OK my freshman year and got a job as office janitor at $30 a month, which the school credited to my tuition. Also, I joined the National Guard, which paid $20 a month. Then, I worked as a laborer during summers and I saved about $100 a month. Then, I helped Capt. Gibbons (or actually I did his lessons) by correspondence at $5 a week. And of course, Felipe and Edna supported me during my freshman year, and Frank Bernal charged my meals for two years. It was rough, but it was worth it."

(Ed. note: We thank Dr. George Austin for submitting the following obituary and tribute to Dr. Frank Kottlowski. George Austin is Senior Industrial Minerals Geologist Emeritus and served as deputy director of the Bureau under Frank.)

Dr. Frank E. Kottlowski, 80, passed away on Wednesday, April 18, 2001. He was born on April 11, 1921, in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Florence Jean, and his three daughters and their spouses, five grandchildren and their spouses, and three great-grandchildren.

Frank began his higher education at Butler University as a business major, but World War II interrupted and he served as an aerial navigator and photographic interpreter for the 8th Air Force from 1942 to 1945. After the war, he attended Indiana University and was one semester away from completing his certified public accountant degree when he took a geology course from Charles Deiss. That exciting teacher sold Frank on geology, who received his B.A in 1947 in geology. Within his next four years at Indiana, Frank received his M.A. in structural geology (1949) and Ph.D. in economic geology (1951).

In 1951, Frank accepted a position at the New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources as an economic geologist. From 1951 until 1974 he became familiar with the history, geography, economic geology, stratigraphy, and structural geology of all of New Mexico, and friends say that he could easily recall the details and relevance of every significant outcrop in the state.

Frank was the director of the Bureau, and later state geologist, from 1974 to 1991, and his administration was marked by substantial growth in personnel, budget, and influence of the organization. His early CPA training came in handy as director, and his colleagues at the bureau recall Frank's attention to budget numbers.

Upon retirement in 1991, Frank received status from New Mexico Tech. Even in retirement, his work ethic required him to put in many hours in his office, tying up those loose ends that were acquired in the more than 50 years of geological work, especially those in New Mexico.

Frank's passion for geology produced more than 200 significant papers, many reports, and a textbook, Measuring Stratigraphic Sections. His interests in economic geology, particularly coal, Paleozoic and Mesozoic rocks in southern New Mexico, and Cenozoic and Quaternary rocks in the Rio Grande rift, are well known. Within New Mexico he served on numerous boards, commissions, and panels that supervise, advise, oversee, and otherwise offer advice on a wide variety of mineral resources or extractive or environmental activities. Nationally, Frank served on many committees, a large number within the Geological Society of America and American Association of Petroleum Geologists as councilor, chair, or editor, and he received numerous awards and several honorary memberships.

Frank had a longtime association with the American Association of State Geologists. Over the 17 years he was director of the New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources, he attended many meetings of the AASG and served on the AASG Liaison Committee that meets with the government entities in Washington, D.C. Frank clearly saw the power of this organization to influence geologic thought and policy in the United States. In this regard, the AASG and its few members, just one person from each of the states, exert tremendous influence when they speak with one voice.

To close friends, as well as those who knew him slightly, Frank Kottlowski was a caring, humble man. Regardless of the awards and honors heaped on him, Frank would respond with the names of so many others who helped him. David Schoderbek, one of his sons-in-law and a geologist, summed up Frank's life this way, "In every way, Frank was exceedingly generous. Not only of his highly sought-after time, but also of his ideas, his credit, his praise, his listening, and his material possessions. Frank gave freely of whatever he had to give, whether it was the last sip of water in his canteen or his valued editorial advice. Frank's personal and professional integrity was unexcelled. Frank was consistently fair and even-handed, always extending the benefit of the doubt to those in need. His door was always open, and he was often sought-out for advice by his friends and colleagues."

What a world this would be if these words could be said of us all.

A memorial endowment has been established in memory of Frank Kottlowski. Details are at Frank E. Kottlowski Memorial Endowment. Contributions may be sent to: Advancement Office, Brown 111, New Mexico Tech, 801 Leroy Place, Socorro, N.M. 87801. On your check, in the "memo" section, please write "Kottlowski Endowment."

William C. Meeks, Sr., age 72, passed away on Aug. 31, 2001. Bill graduated from New Mexico Tech in 1955 with a bachelor's degree in geophysics. He worked for many years at White Sands Proving Grounds (now White Sands Missile Range). He was a resident of Carrizozo, N.M., where he had served as a magistrate judge for four years. The family would appreciate donations to the Kidney Foundation or the Lupus Foundation in his name.

Charles Nathan, age 81, died on Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2001. Dr. Nathan was a professor of petroleum engineering at New Mexico Tech. He graduated from San Jacinto High School in 1936 and with distinction from Rice Institute (now Rice University) in 1940. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh in 1942 and 1948, respectively.

During World War II, he served in the U.S. Navy and participated in the atomic-bomb tests at Bikini Atoll in 1946. In addition to two years of active military duty, he served nine years in the Naval Reserve. He retired as a lieutenant in naval intelligence.

Nathan worked as a chemical engineer with Monsanto, Texaco, and Betz laboratories. He published and lectured widely on corrosion-related topics. At Betz, he was instrumental in their entry into coal conversion, geothermal, and solar applications. He was a member of a U.S. delegation of corrosion specialists sent by the National Science Foundation to the U.S.S.R. in 1975.

In 1977, Nathan joined New Mexico Tech as deputy director of the Research and Development Division. In August 1981, he was appointed profesor of petroleum engineering. He served in that capacity until he retired in 1989. He passed away in Houston, where he had lived since then.

Dr. Nathan had a lifelong commitment to the Jewish community in every city in which he lived. He taught religious school at several synagogues and led many adult education classes. In later life, he was a member of Temple Emanu El in Houston, one of whose founders was his father, William Max Nathan. He was active in the Democratic Party.

At the memorial service, Rabbi Robert I. Kahn told how he first met Charles, then a junior in high school, and how he selected him, later on, to be a groomsman in his wedding. Rabbi Kahn said, "He was a unique personality with a splendid mind. He will be remembered for his intellect." Rabbi Roy A. Walter elicited warm and knowing laughter when he referred to Charles as a curmudgeon and as a man who "was respected for his character."

Dr. Nathan was a fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers; a registered Professional Engineer (Texas); and an Accredited Corrosion Specialist by the National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE). He was a member of the honorary societies Phi Beta Kappa, Tau Beta Pi, Sigma Xi, and Phi Lambda Upsilon.

Dr. Nathan was predeceased by his beloved wife, Sylvia, who passed away in 1986. He is survived by his dear companion, Muriel Shaw, of Houston; by daughters Anita Backenstein of California, Debbie Nathan and Miriam Lerner of New York, and Barbara Katz of Dallas; by their husbands, and by five grandchildren.

Memorial donations may be made to Hillel, 1700 Bissonnet, Houston, Tex., 77005; Hospice at the Texas Medical Center, 1905 Holcombe St., Houston, Tex., 77030; or a charity of choice. Dr. Per-Anders Persson

Dr. Per-Anders Persson, an internationally known explosives expert, former director of New Mexico Tech's Center for Explosives Technology Research (CETR) and a professor emeritus of mining engineering, passed away on Aug. 11, as a result of complications of lung cancer.

Persson, who had developed an international reputation as an explosives expert in Sweden before he came to Tech, was remembered by friends as an outgoing, likeable, friendly man who enjoyed his work and was helpful to researchers in his field.

Persson was born in Halsingbord, Sweden, in 1930. After earning a master's degree in mechanical engineering at Chalmers Institute of Technology in Sweden, he attended Cambridge University in the United Kingdom, where he earned his Ph.D. in physical chemistry in 1961.

Between 1965 and 1984, Persson held overlapping positions at Nitro Nobel AB, (the company founded by Alfred Nobel, inventor of dynamite) and the Swedish Detonic Research Foundation, a consortium between the Swedish government and several Swedish private companies. While at Nitro Nobel, Persson invented the NONEL detonator system, which is now widely used in industry. NONEL was a non-electric detonating system that was not subject to the accidental consequences of electric sparks or lightning strikes, as earlier detonating systems were. The invention made his reputation, and would have made him a fortune had not the patents been owned by the Swedish government.

In 1984, Persson came to New Mexico Tech as director of CETR, a newly funded Center for Technical Excellence at the university.

Dr. Catherine Aimone-Martin, professor of mineral engineering, recalled how Persson's appointment came about. "In the early 1980s, Marx Brook, then vice-president for Research and Development, Marc Meyers (who was associate professor of metallurgy) and I wrote a proposal to the state for $5 million for five years to establish the Center for Explosives Technology Research (CETR) at New Mexico Tech. Since Tech was renowned in explosives research, we proposed to focus in the area of commercial explosives

"When we got the money, we realized that we needed an outstanding director for this center. I happened to attend an ISEE [International Society for Explosives Engineers] meeting later that month, and I met with Per-Anders, whom I had previously known. At that time he was Research Director at Nitro Nobel. I explained the Center concept to him and invited him to consider applying for the director position. Since he was not fully familiar with our research history, but intrigued with the idea, I thought it best to invite him to the campus. Marx Brook agreed to fund his trip to Socorro. Dr. Persson was absolutely amazed at our facilities and excited about the prospects of leading a research center in the United States.

"Dr. Brook became fast friends with Per-Anders. Dr. Persson brought his wife May back on an official interview trip and eventually Dr. Persson took the position. After accepting the job, he would often say, in jest, 'It's all Cathy's fault that I'm here in Socorro.' In reality, he loved Socorro and his job. It was not I that brought him here but rather his unparralled international reputation."

Persson was director of the Center for Explosives Technology Research (CETR) from 1984 to 1992 and Director for the Research Center for Energetic Materials (RCEM) from 1984, as well as chief scientist at the Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center from 1992. During 10 years, he built CETR into a self-supporting center of technical excellence in explosives technology, with an emphasis on a deeper fundamental understanding of the physical and chemical mechanisms of explosives decomposition reactions in slow heating, burning, shock initiation, and detonation.

With support from Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories and funding from the State of New Mexico, he built shock and detonation physics test facilities equipped with advanced instrumentation for photographic and electronic recording of detonation and shock phenomena; an explosives safety testing and processing laboratory; and a new materials laboratory devoted to dynamic processing of novel metallic and ceramic materials. He hired, trained, and lead research staff and developed continued education training and graduate level academic course programs in explosive-related subjects. One of his major achievements was to bring a team of researchers from CETR and academic departments together with a consortium of private industry and federal laboratories and agencies to form the NSF-supported Research Center for Energetic Materials in 1986.

Persson taught graduate-level courses in explosives technology, rock blasting, and mining technology, shock and detonation physics and chemistry, and supported numerous masters and Ph.D. students in their research. He was lead co-author of a combined university-level textbook and engineering reference book, Rock Blasting and Explosives Engineering, which was published in 1994. He had an earlier book, Detonics of High Explosives, published by Academic Press in 1970.

Among Persson's many awards were the Polhem Medal (1975) awarded by the Swedish Institute of Technology; Distinguished Service Award (1980) by the Society of Explosives Engineers; Swedish Inventors Award (1985) by the Swedish Board for Technical Development; and the Nitro Nobel Medal (1990) awarded by Nitro Nobel AB for the invention of the NONEL detonator system.

Persson is survived by his wife May, who lives in Socorro, and his children: Philip Persson and wife Anne, Thomas Graan and wife Birgitta, and Elizabeth Svahn, who all live in Sweden.

A memorial fund is being established. Contributions may be mailed to: Advancement Office, New Mexico Tech, 801 Leroy Place, Socorro, N.M., 87801. Checks should be made out to New Mexico Tech, and on the memo line write "Persson Endowment."

Paul M. Perry
, age 53, passed away on Sunday, August 12, 2001 from complications due to skin cancer. He was born on October 11, 1947 in Azusa, Calif. He was a 1969 graduate of New Mexico Institute of Mining & Technology with a B.S. in physics. He earned his Ph.D. in physics from Oregon Institute in Beaverton, Ore. Dr. Perry worked at Western Geophysical Company from 1973 to 2001. He loved gardening and cooking and was very active in Park Glen West Community Association. He was a charter member of the National Home Gardening Club.

Paul is survived by his sister Becky Perry Kelher (86, BS, geology) and her husband Robert.

Robert L. Schell
, age 84, passed away on Feb. 19, 2000. as a 1939 graduate of the New Mexico School of Mines, with a bachelor's degree in mining engineering.

Schell was born on Sept. 14, 1915, in Lang, Saskatchewan, Canada, the son of Edward R. Schell and Edna McCallum Schell. The family returned to the United States in 1919, to Wheaton, Ill. Schell graduated from Wheaton Academy, where his father had been headmaster. He then attended New Mexico School of Mines, and upon graduation, began a career as a mining engineer which took him to Idaho, Arizona, and Nicaragua.

Schell met his wife Rosalie Schulz, while she was vacationing and he was en route to his post in Nicaragua. They married in 1942. A year later, he and his wife moved to Bauxite, Ark., and he began a long career with Alcoa. During the late Forties, he was the company's mining superintendent in Surinam. After he returned to Bauxite, he was Alcoa's Works Chief Engineer and the production manager for raw materials. He took great pride and satisfaction in his work and he developed life-long friendships with many of his colleagues and co-workers at Alcoa, in Surinam in and Bauxite. He retired in 1977.

Schell participated actively in Bauxite community life and devoted time and energy to civic affairs, serving as president for the Bauxite Lions Club, district governor for his district, president for more than 10 years of the Arkansas Pollution Control and Econogy Commission, and state chairman for the Arkansas Lions Sight Conservation Committee (a favorite charity of his had been Arkansas Enterprises for the Blind, now Lion World Enterprises for the Blind.) He served as chairman for the Saline County Community Fund. He had been a member and chairman of the board of stewards of the First United Methodist Church of Bauxite. After the Bauxite church closed in 1968, he was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Benton and served on its administrative board.

Schell enjoyed traveling, especially by train, and he would often choose a wayward route over the continent to enjoy the rails with his family. He was an enthusiastic model railroader. He loved sports, especially baseball and the Razorbacks, and he imparted those interests to his daughter at an early age.

He was a devoted and generous husband and father.

Schell is survived by his daughter, Dr. Margaret A. Schell, and her husband, Wilson Jones, of Little Rock. His wife Rosalie, died in 1998.

Bonita C. Tsosie
, a student at New Mexico Tech, passed away on Aug. 8, 2001, possibly due to an epileptic seizure. Bonita was 35.

Bonita was known to many faculty, staff, and students at Tech as a friendly, smiling, and perpetually helpful person with an infectious laugh. She was active in AISES (American Indian Society of Engineering and Science). She was always willing to volunteer for Science Fair, Science Olympiad, alumni events, and many other events. She always had an encouraging word for students and friends.

The funeral service was held on August 14, in Shiprock, N.M. Because of Bonita's many friends in Socorro, a memorial service was held in town on September 15.

She is survived by her mother Irene Bekis-Begay of Tocito, and sisters Bernadette Tsosie (91, BS, geology; 98, MS, geology), of Tocito and Teresa Washburn of Hogback. Cards may be sent to Irene Bekis-Begay at at P.O. Box 3048 in Shiprock, NM 87420.

Contributions to help the family with burial costs may be made in her memory to: Bonita Tsosie Memorial Account, Bank of America, 201 Plaza NW Socorro, N.M. 87801, or by calling (505) 835-1569.

The Alumni Office has received word of the passing of William Wittmeyer (48, BS, mining engineering). No further information was available.