Obituary: Alfred Howard Zeltmann Dec. 25, 1921 – Aug. 31, 2021

ALFRED HOWARD ZELTMANN Dec 25, 1921 to Aug 31, 2021

Alfred Howard Zeltmann of Los Alamos, New Mexico, passed away Tues, Aug 31, 2021, at home surrounded by his family. He was 99 and died of old age.

Al was born at home in Brooklyn, New York, on Christmas Day in 1921, the eldest son of Ernest William Zeltmann and Anna Kannard Zeltmann. He was raised in Brooklyn and attended Brooklyn Technical High School and then Cooper Union in New York City.

He married his high school sweetheart Audrey Ritchie soon after being drafted into the army in 1942. In 1944 he was assigned to the Special Engineer Detachment as a Technician Third Grade (T/3) in Los Alamos where he worked on the initiator for the “Fat Man” bomb in the Manhattan project. 

Following WWII, Al and Audrey divorced. Al completed his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering at Washington State University, his Ph.D. in radiochemistry at the University of New Mexico, and then returned to the Los Alamos National Laboratory where he worked for his entire career as a physical chemist.  He worked in CMR, retiring in 1984.

Al married Clare Alverson in 1951. Together they raised three children, enjoyed a very large group of friends, and traveled extensively in the US and internationally. Al built the family’s beautiful home working in the evenings and on weekends from 1962 through 1964. After Clare’s death in 1986, Al married Joy Drake. Together Al and Joy built a new life together based on their curiosity about the world, a shared love of learning, international travel, and enjoyment of their large family and many lifelong friends.

Al is survived by Joy Drake, daughters Ann Zeltmann of Lake Oswego, OR, and Carol Hengstenberg (Bob) of Chimayo, NM, son Tom Zeltmann (Kay) of Midland, TX, stepdaughter Jill Drake Rice (Scott) of Rio Rancho, NM, niece Patty Zeltmann McGrath of Waldorf, MD, grandchildren Abby Hengstenberg and Robert Hengstenberg of Albuquerque, Douglas Zeltmann of Midland, TX, Cory Rice of Las Cruces, NM, and Nicole Rice of Tucson, AZ, great grandchildren Harper Gamble and Layla Tapia of Albuquerque, NM, and Mia Tapia of Moriarity, NM.

Audrey Ritchie Goldblatt, Clare Zeltmann, his parents Anna and Ernest W. Zeltmann, Sr., his younger brother Ernest W. Zeltmann, Jr. and wife Sonja, nephew Ernest Zeltmann, and stepson Andrew Drake predeceased him. 

The family invites friends to a celebration of Al’s life at a gathering at the family home from 2-4  p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 5, 2021.

Al had a deep compassion for those who live in need. If desired, please contribute in Al’s name to a food pantry or the charity of your choice.

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