OLIVER RUDOLF SIMI July 20, 1922 – Oct. 26, 2021
Oliver Rudolf Simi, 99, died peacefully at his home in Los Alamos on October 26, 2021.
Oliver (“Ollie” and “Papa”) was born on July 20, 1922, in Mass, Michigan. He was a member of the Reserved Officers’ Training Corps during high school. He attended Michigan Tech, studying Chemistry, under a college deferment with the military.
In 1942, in need of personnel with chemistry training for a secret project, the US Army cancelled his deferment. He was inducted into the US Army and assigned to the Manhattan Project in the then secret city of Los Alamos, NM. As Oliver recounted, “They put me on a train in Michigan with no idea of where I was headed. Next thing I knew I was getting off in Lamy, NM and bussed up to a remote mountain town.”
He served as part of the effort to design and build the first atomic bomb. At the war’s end he returned to Michigan Tech to complete his degree in Chemistry. After completing his degree, he accepted a job back in Los Alamos at the newly created Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory.
It was during his time in Los Alamos that he met his wife and the love of his life, Dorothy, while she was visiting family in the area. They were married in 1952 and went on to build a family with four sons and two daughters while he continued to work as a chemist.
He was a Charter member of Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church where he faithfully attended and served as an usher. He was a devoted grandfather who, together with his wife, provided daycare for his grandchildren, Kristin, Heather, Brian, and Genna during their younger years.
Oliver retired from Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1986 after 40 years of dedicated service. He enjoyed many hobbies in retirement and cared for his wife until her passing in 2004. He was an active member of the Los Alamos chapter of the Freemasons as a Grand Master where he proudly coached new members.
Oliver was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed hunting, fishing, hiking, and gardening. He was an active member of the Los Alamos Sportsman’s Club. He believed that one should enjoy the outdoors and just keep moving. A bit later in life he discovered golf and it quickly became his favorite activity. He also enjoyed reading, visiting patients at Sombrillo Nursing Home, tinkering and building, watching Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune with his children in his favorite recliner, watching golf and baseball with his son Matt, and spending time with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was a devoted family man who loved family gatherings at home, picnics outdoors, and life events where everyone got together to eat and enjoy each other’s company. He was proud of his Finnish heritage and enjoyed cooking Finnish dishes.
Oliver will be remembered as a son, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, uncle, friend, Veteran, Freemason, coach, chemist, volunteer, and devoted Christian.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Uno and Tekla Simi; brother, John Simi; beloved wife of 52 years, Dorothy Simi; and three sons, Darrick, Edwin, and Kenneth Simi.
He is survived by his daughter, Margaret Reeves and husband Frank, their children Heather (Kris) Prudhomme and Genna Reeves, and great-grandchildren Evan and Alisa Prudhomme; daughter Laurel Roberts and husband Jeff; their children Kristin Mortensen, Brian (Nyree) Mortensen, Kyla Roberts, Tricia (Quinn) McCulloch, and Daniel (Kim) Roberts, and great-grandchildren Logan Oliver and Dawson Mortensen; son Matthew Simi and wife Patty, their children Jason (Allison Fritz) Halladay, Dylan (Amber) Halladay, and Leigh Ann (Jesse) Walkoviak; brother Edward Simi, and sister Helga Mann.
A funeral service will be held November 20, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. at Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church, 2390 North Road, Los Alamos. The service will be immediately followed by burial at Guaje Pines Cemetery and a reception at the church. The family invites you to view the service, which will be live streamed on Facebook at the Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church page: https://facebook.com/Bethlehem-Evangelical-Lutheran-Church-145536098804185/.
The family suggests donations be made to the Oliver Simi Memorial Fund at Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church or the Los Alamos Masonic Lodge.
The family of Oliver R. Simi has entrusted care of their loved one to Rivera Family Funeral Home. To share a memory, please visit their website at www.riverafuneralhome.com.