Obituary: Loren G. Lundquist April 14, 1942 – Dec. 16, 2020

LOREN GILMORE LUNDQUIST April 14, 1942 – Dec. 16, 2020

Loren Gilmore Lundquist, born April 14, 1942 to Mae Lorraine (Obenland) Lundquist and Gilmore John Peter Lundquist, passed away Dec. 16, 2020 due to complications from a brief illness.

He was a kind, generous man of integrity with a delightful, wry sense of humor. He served his country for many years, and he will be sorely missed by his family and friends. 

Any obituary of Loren Lundquist should rightfully contain as many details as possible, but Loren lived such a rich life that it’s hard to live up to his standards.

He was born in Alexandria, LA, while his father was preparing to deploy his B-25 squadron to North Africa during WWII. With a father in the Air Force, Loren and his siblings (Valerie Mae Lundquist, 1945, and Jerrold Theodore Lundquist, 1949) lived all over the country including Massachusetts, Ohio, and Virginia. From 1953-56, at the height of the Cold War, they lived in Berlin while Loren’s father worked in Air Force Technical Intelligence smuggling defectors and military hardware out of East Berlin.

Loren was able to pursue his Boy Scout training from Berlin and was likely the first person to earn his Eagle Scout behind the Iron Curtain. Graduating from Ohio’s Fairborn High School in 1960, Loren went on to receive a B.S. in physics from Ohio State University in 1964 and was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army immediately following graduation. While serving, he completed a Master of Science in Nuclear Physics from Ohio State in 1968 before being deployed as a Field Artillery officer in Vietnam.

In Vietnam, Loren received two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart. In 1969, he was in command of an artillery battery at Ben Het that was trapped on a hill and cut off from all sides, held under siege for 52 days. At the height of the siege, there were more than 200 incoming shells a day. Bunkers that Loren ordered to be built before the siege helped keep injuries to a minimum, but he earned a Purple Heart for injuries sustained during a mortar attack – one of 221 Purple Hearts awarded to his battery. In the final days of the siege, Loren earned a Bronze star for climbing onto a burning artillery truck to cut loose its propellant canisters, preventing a major explosion that would have caused many casualties. 

Loren joined the Atomic Energy Officer program, earning a secondary specialty in Atomic Energy. He was stationed at most all the country’s nuclear laboratories, including Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, Sandia Laboratory, Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, and the Army Nuclear and Chemical Agency and Department of Energy Headquarters. While working at the labs, Loren was able to pursue his love of  flying. He maintained his pilot instructor’s license throughout his life, even owning his own personal Cessna for a few years in which he took frequent family trips with his wife and young kids. 

In 1975, he earned a Master’s degree in Military Arts and Sciences from the US Army Command and General Staff College. In that same year, he married Diana Louise (Brant) on March 28, with whom he had two children: Loraine Louise Lundquist (1977) and Gilmore Robert Lundquist (1978). After retiring from the Army in 1984 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, he worked as a scientist in the X-4 nuclear design group at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he contributed to many warhead designs, including the W88 deployed in the Trident II submarine missile. He worked as an advocate for nuclear safety in the nuclear weapon stockpile stewardship program. In 2000, he became deputy group leader of X-4. He retired from “the lab” in 2004, returning regularly as a consultant to share his expertise as one of the few remaining scientists with live nuclear test experience.

Diana and Loren moved to Surprise, AZ, in 2004. Diana passed away in 2010, and Loren married Kathleen Gwyndlen (Livingston) in 2013. In his spare time, Loren was an avid reader, enjoying science fiction and history. As a ketogenic diet enthusiast, he was able to lose over 200 pounds and attended and presented at many conventions and low-carb themed cruises. He was also a computer buff and early technology adopter who was active in the computer club, teaching frequent computer courses for retirees. 

Loren is survived by his wife, Kathleen, brother Jerrold, children Loraine and Gilmore, and grandchildren Jonah Sequoia Lundquist d’Alessio (2008), Naomi Helene Lundquist d’Alessio (2010), Desirae Naiome Lundquist d’Alessio (2016), and Alexandra Artemis Lundquist (2013).

Friends are invited to a virtual remembrance at 1 p.m., Jan. 17 Pacific Time. Please contact loren@lorainelundquist.com for details. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations made in his honor to Disabled American Veterans at dav.org.

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