OBITUARY: Richard Prael July 25, 1940–Feb. 12, 2014

RICHARD EDWARD PRAEL July 25, 1940–Feb. 12, 2014

Richard E. Prael died at his home in Los Alamos Feb. 12, 2014. He was born July 25, 1940 in Astoria, Ore.

Prael is survived by his beloved wife, Phyllis A. Bailey; his daughter, Mary Alice Prael Madaris (Mike) and grandsons, Elijah and Noah Madaris, of Marietta, Ga.; three stepchildren, Alison Bailey (Terri Moore) of Los Alamos, N.M.; Dr. Aileen Bailey (Aaron Koch) of Great Mills, Md.; and Ken Bailey (Gail) of Washington, D.C.; as well as seven step grandchildren:Connor, Jordan and Isabella Bailey, Colin and Audrey Koch and Noor and Rima Bailey. He was preceded in death by his parents, Albert and Alice Prael.

Prael graduated from Stanford University in 1962 with a B.S. in physics and obtained a masters degree at the University of Idaho while working for Phillips Petroleum at the National Reactor Test Station. He completed a Ph. D. in nuclear physics at Case Western Reserve University in 1971.

He was employed at Argonne Laboratory from 1972 to 1978. He moved to Los Alamos in 1978 and took a position as a staff member in TD-6 at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Although a member of several groups over 30 years, he was throughout involved with the development of Monte Carlo methods and codes for nuclear particle transport and interactions. His 120 publications with over 1,300 citations by other scientists, as well as countless excellent presentations contributed to LANL being a recognized world leader in the high-energy Monte Carlo arena. He continued this effort after retirement in 2004 as an associate and guest scientist.

Prael found great satisfaction in mentoring younger physicists, especially those whose career goals were involvement in medical physics using proton accelerators.

Prior to his illness, Prael enjoyed hiking, fly fishing and cultivating cacti, and was a voracious reader. He was an ardent follower of the Los Alamos Big Band. He was particularly interested in the wildlife that he observed near his canyon home. He was active in the Episcopal Church, serving as Chile Line treasurer as well as Northeast Deanery treasurer for a number of years. 

A service honoring his life will be held at 11 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, at Trinity on the Hill Episcopal Church with a reception following in Kelly Hall. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the TOTH Episcopal Church Building Fund or the Wildlife Center in Espanola, NM.

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