Skip directly to content


Obituary: Calvin Charles Maxwell Nov. 27, 1928 – Dec. 26, 2015

on January 4, 2016 - 5:21pm

CALVIN CHARLES MAXWELL Nov. 27, 1928 – Dec. 26, 2015

Calvin Charles Maxwell passed away peacefully on December 26th, 2015, in Gresham, Oregon. He was born to Ellen Francis McKeown Maxwell and Charles Calvin Maxwell in Burlington, Iowa, on November 27, 1928.

Calvin went to work in his early teens to help his mother support the family after his father passed away at a very early age. He graduated from Burlington High School in 1948 and worked at the Iowa Ordinance Plant. 

Calvin married Clarice Louise Freedman on August 29th, 1952. He relocated the family to Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1956,


Obituary: Florence Kirstein Mercer Feb. 4, 1922 – Dec. 24, 2015

on December 29, 2015 - 12:25pm

FLORENCE KIRSTEIN MERCER Feb. 4, 1922 – Dec. 24, 2015

Florence (Kris) Kirstein Mercer passed away peacefully in Los Alamos, NM, on December 24, 2015 at the age of 93. She had been a resident of Aspen Ridge Lodge Assisted Living in Los Alamos for several years.

Florence, of Black Mountain, NC, was raised on her family’s farm. After completing high school, Florence graduated from Berea College in Berea, KY with a B.A. in Home Economics. Florence married Arthur Derick Mercer Jr., in 1945 in Black Mountain, N.C.


John Eric Messimer Aug. 11, 1963 - Dec. 23, 2015

on December 28, 2015 - 2:11pm

JOHN ERIC MESSIMER Aug. 11, 1963 - Dec. 23, 2015

John Eric Messimer, 52, passed away December 23, 2015 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

John was born in Albuquerque on August 11, 1963. He graduated from Los Alamos High School in 1981. He went on to earn an Associates degree in Graphic Design from Texas State Technical College in Waco, Texas.

Most importantly, John protected the citizens of Albuquerque by serving in the Albuquerque Police Department for over 20 years. John received the department’s highest honor, the Medal of Valor in 1987.

John was a lifelong Philadelphia Eagles and Phillies


Obituary: R. Dean Taylor – Dec. 25, 2015

on December 27, 2015 - 9:17am

R. DEAN TAYLOR – Dec. 25, 2015

Dr. Raymond Dean Taylor died suddenly on December 25, 2015 due to coronary artery disease at the age of 87.

Dean was a loving husband, father and grandfather, dedicated scientist, avid skier and active member of the First United Methodist Church.

Dean was born in 1928 in Okemah, Oklahoma. He received a BS in 1950 from Pittsburg State University and a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry in 1954 from Rice University. He then joined the Low Temperature Physics group at Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1954.

He maintained an active and productive career at LANL for the


Obituary: Judy Runyan Dec. 21, 2015

on December 26, 2015 - 9:41am

JUDY RUNYAN Dec. 21, 2015

Judy Runyan, age 88, former Los Alamos resident, passed away Monday, Dec. 21, 2015 in Albuquerque. 

She is survived by her children, David Bergstein of Albuquerque, Roxanne Cavin (Keith) of New York and Jody Jones (Dan Cather) of White Rock. She is also survived by three grandchildren, three great grandchildren and three great great grandchildren, and leaves many dear friends, especially Tom, Jacque, Airon and Logan Dimas of Albuquerque. 

Judy loved quilting, sewing, needlepoint, reading and all animals.


Obituary: Lila Valerie Levi-Cooper May 7, 1935 – Dec. 21, 2015

on December 24, 2015 - 8:09am

LILA VALERIE LEVI-COOPER May 7, 1935 Dec. 21, 2015

Lila Valerie Levi-Cooper shuffled off this mortal coil at 11:45 pm December 21, 2015. She was a resident of Los Alamos, New Mexico since 1979. She was born May 7, 1935 in San Francisco, California. Her body will be cremated at Rivera Family Funeral Home and Crematory in Espanola, New Mexico.

Val, as she was known to family and friends, was an enthusiastic skier, hiker, backpacker, and gardener. She was also an accomplished cook, as evidenced by her extensive collection of cookbooks.


Obituary: Russell Ivan Shinn Dec. 8, 2015

on December 22, 2015 - 1:34pm


If a person is measured by the lives they touch, Russell Ivan Shinn was a legend. Russ passed away at home, surrounded by family on December 8, 2015.

He was loved, and will be dearly missed, by his wife, Suzie Frazier; brother, Art Shinn and sister-in-law, Renee; nieces, Miranda, Mary and Kayleigh; daughter, Jennifer Shinn and son-in-law Greg Sievers; stepchildren, Amy and Christian Piatt, Mateo and Melania Frazier and grandchildren, Michaela, Makaio, Mattias and Zoe.


Obituary: Naomi Miriam Becke Dec. 16, 2015

on December 19, 2015 - 8:18am


Naomi Miriam Becker, 63, of Santa Fe passed away on Wednesday, December 16, 2015.

She is preceded in death by her parents Sidney and Carol Becker. She is survived  by her children Madeleine Cogbill and Andre Cogbill. Naomi Becker was an accomplished hydrologist who spent over three decades at Los Alamos National Laboratory before retiring in 2O14. She earned a B.S. in Geology at the University of lllinois-Chicago, and the M.S. and Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Wisconsin - Madison.

Her research at Los Alamos spanned


Obituary: Jose O. Gallegos, III March 16, 1943 – Dec. 11, 2015

on December 16, 2015 - 10:36am

JOSE O. GALLEGOS, III March 16, 1943 – Dec. 11, 2015
Jose O. Gallegos, 72, a New Mexico native passed away peacefully on Friday, December 11, 2015. Jose retired from the Veteran Administration where he worked as a Field Investigator assisting with veterans.
Jose is survived by the love of his life, for 35 years, Esther Roybal of Albuquerque, children, Tanya Lechel (Bob) of Los Alamos; Sandy Orchowski (Dan) of Albuquerque, Steve Roybal (Kyla) also of Albuquerque. He was blessed with three grandchildren; Abigail Lechel, Dominic Roybal and Sara Denogean, along with wonder family and

Obituary: John T. Sutton Sr. – Dec. 6, 2015

on December 15, 2015 - 9:54am

JOHN T. SUTTON Sr. – Dec. 6, 2015

John T. Sutton Sr., 82, a resident of Los Alamos, passed away of natural causes on Sunday, December 6, 2015. 

John was born in Winthrop, Massachusetts where he met and married his sweetheart, Alyce M. Comeau, in September 1956. In the early 1960’s John joined EG&G and later, in 1970, relocated his family to Los Alamos. John worked his entire career as an engineer with EG&G and Bechtel until retiring in the early 2000’s. 

John had many interests, which included flying light airplanes, building model airplanes, and golfing.


Obituary: Dennis D. Simmonds Dec. 9, 2015

on December 14, 2015 - 7:57pm


Dennis D. Simmonds, 80, a resident of Los Alamos, passed away on Wednesday, December 9, 2015. He was preceded in death by his parents, Ivan and Effa Simmonds and infant daughter, Suzanne.

Dennis was an expert woodworker and a multi-skilled craftsman. He was a pioneer in the computing era. He enjoyed his church choir, men’s group and breakfast at Violas. He came to Los Alamos in 1957 where he worked a 35 year career. He wrote hydrodynamics codes, designed a Linear Accelerator and implemented network engineering and computer security.


Obituary: Mary Louise Sweeney Keigher March 11, 1924 – Dec. 6, 2015

on December 13, 2015 - 12:04pm

MARY LOUISE SWEENEY KEIGHER March 11, 1924 – Dec. 6, 2015

Mary Louise Sweeney Keigher, 91, a longtime resident of Los Alamos, passed away on Sunday, December 6, 2015.

Mary Lou was born on March 11, 1924, in Mitchell, South Dakota (Home of the Corn Palace). Mary was preceded in death by her beloved husband “Jamie” Don Keigher; her parents, Dr. and Mr. J.T. Sweeney; infant son, Kevin in 1954 and son, Brian J. Keigher in 2003.

Mary was a secretary at Union Oil Co. during WWII followed by employment at Los Alamos National Laboratory as a word processor, she and Don retired in 1986.



Obituary: Shelly Millsap Dec. 8, 2015

on December 12, 2015 - 1:49pm


Shelly Millsap, 51, a resident of Española, passed away on Tuesday, December 8, 2015.

Shelly was preceded in death by her aunt, Faye Davis, Emma Baird; grandparents, Lewis and Ollie Millsap, Frank and Adonelia Serrano; cousins, Andrew Casados, Edward Romero; uncle, Lewis Jr. Millsap.

Shelly loved children, she loved gardening, boating, and volunteering at the Española Community Market. Shelly was a loving caregiver, always had a smile for everyone. She was detail oriented and loved interior decorating. Shelly will be missed by all who knew and loved her.


Obituary: Ethel Mary (Kehoe) Kachelmeier Jan. 7, 1918 – Dec. 6, 2015

on December 11, 2015 - 9:28pm

ETHEL MARY (KEHOE) KACHELMEIER Jan. 7, 1918 – Dec. 6, 2015

Ethel Mary (Kehoe) Kachelmeier, loving mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, died peacefully of natural causes in her bed at a care home in Mesa, Arizona on Dec. 6, 2015 at the age of 97.

Ethel was born on January 7, 1918 in Watertown, Wisconsin. She lived in Los Alamos from 1954 to 1990 with her husband, the late Ladislaus (Laddie) Kachelmeier.

Ethel is survived by her first son, David of Los Alamos, his wife Virginia, and grandson Brian of Los Alamos, his wife Andi, and their children Luke, Caitlyn, Madison, and Abby,


Obituary: Donna W. Littlejohn Dec. 1, 2015

on December 10, 2015 - 2:37pm


Donna W. Littlejohn, 85, a longtime resident of Los Alamos, New Mexico, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, December 1, 2015, at Sombrillo Nursing Home in Los Alamos. 

She was preceded in death by her father, Walter Wilhelmi; mother, Ruby Moorefield; and brother Sonny Wilhelmi, all of Hot Springs, Arkansas.


Obituary: Michael H. J. Backsen July 17, 1941 – Dec. 3, 2015

on December 5, 2015 - 10:55am
MICHAEL H. J. BACKSEN July 17, 1941 Dec. 3, 2015
Mike Backsen died on Dec. 3, 2015. He was born on July 17, 1941, in Mandan, North Dakota. After graduating from high school, he spent three years in the Navy.
He married Marcy Buresh in 1965, while attending North Dakota State University. She preceded him in death in 2006. He received a BSEE from NDSU in 1966 and an MSEE for the University of Wyoming in 1968. He and Marcy raised their family in Los Alamos, New Mexico, where Mike worked at the Los Alamos National Lab for 34 years.
After retiring from the Lab, Mike and Marcy moved

Obituary: Gary Raper Oct. 5, 1949 – Dec. 1, 2015

on December 5, 2015 - 6:42am

GARY RAPER Oct. 5, 1949 Dec. 1, 2015

Gary Raper died Dec. 1, 2015. Gary was born in Los Alamos, the Son of Verdie and Catherine Raper. He is preceded in death by his mother, Catherine.

Diagnosed with epilepsy at 9 years, his disability severely restricted his life. He was cared for at home until he was 36 when he was able to move into a group home managed by the Albuquerque Association for Retarded Citizens. He lived, worked and traveled for the next 20 years due to the wonderful care of this remarkable organization. 

As his health declined he needed more intensive health care.


Obituary: Duwayne Todd Dec. 1, 2015

on December 5, 2015 - 6:37am

DUWAYNE TODD Dec. 1, 2015

Duwayne Todd, 56, a resident of Rio Rancho, passed away of a lengthy illness on Tuesday, December 1, 2015. Duwayne served in the Navy as a Dental Technician for 5 years. He worked many years in Dental Laboratories and as a Journeyman Metal Smith.

Duwayne is survived by his parents, Billy and Marie Todd of Los Alamos; daughters, Breeanna of Salt Lake City, Utah and Andrea of Napa Valley, California; sisters, Paula Nichols and husband Tim of Dallas, TX, Roberta Reinhardt of Albuquerque; brother, Tim Todd and wife Vicki of Seattle, Washington; nieces, Erica, Larrisa,


Obituary: Odelia (Oddie) Garcia Nov. 30, 2015

on December 1, 2015 - 6:09pm

ODELIA (ODDIE) Garcia Nov. 30, 2015

Odelia (Oddie) Garcia passed away peacefully
November 30, 2015 in her home in Los Alamos at the age of 93. She was a very loving Wife, Mother, Grandmother, and Great Grandmother to her family.

She was born in Ocate, NM. When she was five years old, Oddie and her family moved to Rock Springs, Wyoming, where she was raised and graduated from high school. Oddie married Eddie Garcia on October 18, 1946 and in 1948, they moved to Los Alamos, NM.

As a young mother, Oddie taught catechism and she was a Cub Scout Den Mother.


Obituary: Shelia Marie Barks Nov. 5, 1967 – Nov. 1, 2015

on November 24, 2015 - 2:11pm

SHELIA MARIE BARKS Nov. 5, 1967 – Nov. 1, 2015

Shelia Marie Barks, 47, of Los Alamos, NM passed away Sunday, November 1, 2015 at her home after a valiant battle with pulmonary fibrosis. She was surrounded by her family that loved and cared for her.

She was born November 5, 1967, in Cape Girardeau, MO, daughter of Junior and Laura Craft. She and Steven Barks were married June 2, 1994 in Oahu, Hawaii.

Shelia attended Jackson High School in Jackson, Missouri, graduating in 1986. She graduated from Southeast Missouri State University in 1990 with a degree in Business Administration.



Obituary: Virginia Dillon Lee Nov. 16, 2015

on November 18, 2015 - 3:14pm


Virginia Dillon Lee, 82, passed away Monday, November 16, 2015. Her spirit is now with her deceased spouse, James Oliver Lee who died on November 24, 1990. She is survived by: her sister, Dorothy O’Hara, and her five daughters; Rosemary Rezendes and spouse, Dee Keoski, spouse and two children, Virginia Lee Bateman, spouse and four children, Nora Lee and spouse, Megan Lee Ito, resident of Los Alamos, her spouse and two children.

Virginia Lee was born in New York, New York.


Obituary: Bernice Hardy Porto April 29, 1919 – Nov. 10, 2015

on November 17, 2015 - 8:34am

BERNICE HARDY PORTO April 29, 1919 Nov. 10, 2015

Bernice Hardey Porto passed away Tuesday, November 10, 2015. Bernice was born in El Campo, Texas April 29, 1919, the eldest child of Rodney and Mary Hardey. 

Bernice was preceded in death by her husband, Tony, and daughter Nancy Porto Hand. Earlier in life, Bernice worked with the Singer Sewing Company in New York and with her husband moved to Shreveport, LA. They moved to Los Alamos in 1956 where she was active in a variety of organizations including the Hospital Auxiliary.


Obituary: Virginia Lee Sowder Nov. 5, 2015

on November 11, 2015 - 5:37pm
Virginia Lee Sowder passed away peacefully on November 5, 2015, after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. 
She was born in 1923 to Lee and Newell (Kendall) Wood in Clarendon, Texas, a community of independent and self-reliant farmers stoic and taciturn yet with a quirky sense of humor—traits that Virginia kept her entire life. 
An only child, she grew up loving the land, spending time between chores playing hide-and-seek in the cornfield with her pet pig, swimming in the earthen stock tanks with her cousins, running in the fields with her dog.

Obituary: John Ledford Oct. 16, 1940 – Oct. 16, 2015

on November 10, 2015 - 12:00pm

JOHN LEDFORD Oct. 16, 1940 Oct. 16, 2015

John Ledford, 75, a resident of El Rancho, passed away peacefully at his home on Friday, October 16, 2015 with his loving wife, Tammy Thorn/Ledford at his side.

He was preceded in death by his brother, James Ledford and his parents. John was born October 16, 1940 in Fort Morgan, Colo., to Roberta Elizabeth and Paul Ledford. He is survived by his sister, Jean Transmeier (Ross) and many extended family members in Colorado, New Mexico and Texas.

No services will be held.


Obituary: Keith Edward Coennen Oct. 10, 2015

on November 3, 2015 - 11:56am


On October 10, 2015, the Good Lord took Keith Edward Coennen away from the strife of this life into a much better place. 

Keith had a rare passion for life and loved to travel far and wide - whether to Australia or Europe. Keith touched many people that he met. He had a keen sense of humor and his friends thought of him as a quiet, gentle soul. He found great happiness in the mountains of Colorado where he would snow board, ski, camp and hike.  

He worked very hard to become a well respected Software Design Engineer.