Obituaries, March to December 2005

Obituaries, March to December 2005

[Note: in cases where donations may be made to New Mexico Tech, the address is: Advancement Office, New Mexico Tech, 801 Leroy Place, Socorro, NM 87801.]

Dr. Christina Balk, longtime professor of geology at New Mexico Tech, passed away on March 8, 2006. She was 98. She was in an assisted living facility in Santa Fe. See the tribute by Jane Love at Dr. Christina Lochman Balk.

Dr. Balk was born in Springfield, Ill. on October 8, 1907. She received her Ph.D. in paleontology from Johns Hopkins University. She taught at Mount Holyoke College in Holyoke, MA and the University of Chicago. She and her husband Robert Balk moved to Socorro, NM in 1952 where he joined the faculty at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. After his death in an airplane accident, Christina became a geology professor and Dean of Women. For many years, she was nearly the only woman on the faculty. She was extremely influential on generations of Tech students.

Dr. Balk lived in Socorro for many years and was active with the Humane Society and the Animal Shelter. She retired to Santa Fe in 1993, where she has resided at Ponce de Leon Retirement Community. The family asks that memorial contributions be directed to the Balk Scholarship at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro, NM.

Balk was remembered by many in Socorro as a woman ahead of her time. Not only was she a scientist when that was unusual for women, but in addition, as Mary Franklin recalled, "Long before cities were recycling, Christina and my mother were colleting paper, cardboard, aluminum, and glass as a way to raise money for the shelter. Christina drove all the recycling to Albuquerque and sold it."

John Joseph Bokert, a 1951 graduate of the New Mexico School of Mines, passed away on Tuesday, July 5, 2005.

He was born in Birmingham, Ala., on August 14, 1926, and spent his youth in Hobert, Ind. After serving in World War II, his moved west to attend New Mexico School of Mines, graduating with a bachelor's degree in mining engineering.

On January, 28, 1949, he married Nancy Snelling, who remained his wife for 56 years. John was proud of their five sons and their wives: Charles and Penny of Adkins, Tex.; Steven of Questa, N.M., Jay and Debbie of Colorado Springs, Colo.; Cary and Yvette of Portsmouth, Va.; and Daniel and Marne of Denver, Colo. John loved his 18 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

John's career as a mining engineer in the uranium industry took him throughout the Southwest. He was a certified professional engineer for the states of Colorado and Oregon. He pioneered and introduced early development procedures of uranium in-situ leaching, about which he authored publications and obtained several patents. His career culminated in a position as vice president of Exploration (USA) of Occidental Mineral Corp.

John was a life-long member of the Christian Church and a member of Disabled American Veterans.

For Jose Guilberto, please see José Guilberto Guerrero

Gerald W. Irvin, a alumnus of the New Mexico School of Mines, passed away on April 3, 2005.

Jerry was well known throughout Arizona, as a consultant of mining firms, as a small mine operator in his own right, and as a knowledgeable, helpful state employee. He held a position with the Arizona Department of Mining Resources since 1965, aiding a host of prospectors, miners and mining firms. His efforts have helped prospectors find buyers for their properties and miners find a market for their ores.

Jerry's classmate, Hart C. Gleason (39, BS, mining engineering) said "Jerry was a dedicated mining man and, from all accounts, an exceptionally competent one."
Born on Oct. 22, 1911 in Nebraska, Jerry began his professional education at New Mexico School of Mines. He received a BS in general science in 1938, followed by a BS in mining engineering in 1939. He was awarded an MS in mining engineering by the University of Arizona in 1968.

Jerry worked underground as a miner in Butte, Montana, Chloride, Arizona, and at Emigrant Gap in California. He was a mining engineer at Yucca, Arizona, as underground supervisor for Magma at Superior, Arizona, as a file engineer for a construction firm at Navajo Munitions Depot in Arizona and on the Pan American Highway in Central America. He was employed as a geologist at an Arizona mercury mine, an engineer at United Verde in Jerome, and as a leasor-operator of the Elma Mine at Dos Cabezas, Arizona.

Jerry also served as mine foreman in Nicaragua and Honduras and as a mine engineer and geologist at the San Xavier Mine in Pima County. Jerry was manager for Sunrise Mining Company at The Glove and the Paymaster Mines, and then worked as a consulting engineer prior to joining the Department of Mineral Resources in 1965, where he stayed until 1981.

Jerry was well known to more persons in mining in and about Arizona than any other individual. His knowledge of Arizona mines and miners made him an extremely valuable employee. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Dorothy, and brothers, Robert and Raymond Irvin. He is survived by his wife Frances; son Roy Irvin; brother-in-law Lyman Dyson; grandchildren and great granddaughter.

Fred Kastner, 59, died at his home in Littleton, Colorado, on March 29, 2005, after a four-year battle with cancer.

Fred was born in Ft. Snelling, Minnesota, on May 26, 1945, to James and Patricia (Culhane) Kastner. He graduated from Roswell High School in 1963 and continued his education at New Mexico Tech, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in mathematics with a minor in physics in 1967. In 1970, he graduated from the Colorado School of Mines with a master of science degree in petroleum engineering.

His career took him to various locations in the southwestern United States and to Singapore and Cork, Ireland. He lived in Cody, Wyoming, from 1988-2001 and was an active member of St. Anthony.s Catholic Church.

Fred is survived by his wife, Joan; his son, Steven (Shannon) Kastner; his daughter Kristi (Kevin) Watson; his son James Kastner; and grandchildren, brothers, and sisters.

Jean Mullins Macey
, age 84, longtime supporter of New Mexico Tech, died Sunday, February 19, 2006 in the Renaissance Center at Sunrise Assisted Living of Albuquerque. She is survived by her husband of 60 years, William B. Macey, a member of the Class of 1942. The Maceys resided in Albuquerque, N.M. and Tucson, Ariz. Jean was a graduate of Santa Fe High School; Stephens College in Columbia, Mo., and the University of New Mexico. She was a recipient of numerous awards for her outstanding service to UNM. Jean will be remembered by her many friends, the love of friends and family and for her wonderful sense of humor.

Jean Macey is also survived by her daughter, Barbara Jean Todd; son-in-law, Dr. Joseph C. Todd; granddaughter, Sarah Jean Todd of Centennial, Colo.; sister-in-law, Doris M. Poppenberg of Williamsville, N.Y., and five nieces and nephews.

Dr. Geoffrey Purcell
, professor emeritus of materials and metallurgical engineering at New Mexico Tech, died on Sept. 19, 2005 at the Albuquerque home he shared with his wife, Alice. He was 85 years old.

Purcell came to Tech in 1961 and spent the next 29 years, here until his retirement from the Department of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering in 1990.

In 1984, Purcell was honored with the university’s first-ever Distinguished Teaching Award, thus setting the benchmark for the others who would follow.

While at Tech he served as assistant academic dean and department chairman. Outside the classroom, Purcell was known for playing a mean game of tennis.

A native of Wales, Purcell always carried himself with a certain dignity and grace as befitting his European roots; and a trace of his ancestry remained forever in his speech.

“He was a wonderful human being and a wonderful teacher,” said Dr. Osman Inal, longtime member of the Department of Materials Engineering. “Geoff had a pleasant personality that wouldn’t quit. To this day, his former students still come by looking for him,” he said.

Purcell’s award as outstanding teacher was at the insistence of his students, said Inal, adding that they “demanded” that Purcell be so honored.

“Tech was his life – Tech and tennis,” Inal said. “He was a very gentle, nice man.”

As a youth, Purcell attended college for a short time before joining the Royal Navy as a fighter pilot during WWII. After the war, he returned to England to finish his B.Sc. in mining at the University of Birmingham, and to work as an assistant mine manager for Britain’s National Coal Board.

He earned an M.S. in mining from Pennsylvania State University where he met Alice Kipps, a graduate student in English. The couple married in 1953 while Purcell was working as overseas sales manager for Dowty Mining Equipment.

In 1959, after four years in England, Geoff and Alice returned to Penn State in State College where son Charles Kipps (Kip) Purcell was born. Two years later, the family moved to Socorro.

Kip Purcell was an outstanding multi-award winning student at Socorro High School, graduating in 1977. He is a Harvard Law School graduate and onetime clerk for the Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Purcell is currently an attorney with the Rodey law firm, and a longtime volunteer with a high school mock trial program.

Geoffrey Purcell is survived by his widow and son; his daughter-in-law, Georgia Will; grandchildren, Dylan and Elena; and five nieces and nephews in the U.K. He was preceded in death by his brother Ron and sister-in-law Doris.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the New Mexico Boys & Girls Ranch, 6209 Hendrix NE, Albuquerque, NM. 87110, or to Socorro Good Samaritan Village, P.O. Box 1279, Socorro, NM. 87801.

Lucio "Luke" Quinones
, an alumnus and resident of Albuquerque, passed away at his home on Saturday, July 23, 2005, after a short illness.

Luke was born in Canchaillo, Peru on Oct. 19, 1928. He graduated from New Mexico Tech in 1957 with a degree in mining engineering. Luke worked with mining companies in Peru, Bolivia, and Chile, as well as companies in the United States. In New Mexico, he worked for the New Mexico Highway Department, where he was on the design team for the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge and worked on the construction of I-25 south of Albuquerque.

In 1992, Luke retired from the New Mexico Energy and Minerals Department, where he was a gas, mining, and dust engineer, and later served as president and board member of the Public Employees Retirement Association of New Mexico. He also served on the board of the Mine Inspectors Institute of America and the New Mexico Retiree Health Care Authority.

Luke is survived by his wife of 51 years, Emena, three sons, one daughter, and eight grandchildren.

Martin "Tino" E. Romero, age 27, passed away suddenly on July 29, 2005, in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was a resident of Ridgecrest, Calif., and worked as an explosives engineer for China Lake Naval Testing Center. He received his bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from Tech in 2000, followed by a master's degree in mechanical engineering in 2003.

Tino had many hobbies and interests. At a young age, he performed magic shows for schools, libraries, private parties and DARE programs around the state of New Mexico. He was also an avid bottle collector and was a member of the New Mexico Historic Bottle Society. He was a member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles in Ridgecrest. He enjoyed hiking, mine exploring, and explosives.

Tino was a 1995 graduate of Santa Fe High School, although much of his schooling was in Las Vegas, N.M. He always had a hug for everyone he met.

Tino is survived by his parents Martin and Vonnie Romero, sister Ashley of Rio Rancho, NM, grandmothers Ida Romero and Bernie Dodson of Tucumcari, NM and many aunts, uncles and cousins. He is survived by many, many friends, including his extremely close friends Wade Brown, Rob and Steph Brewer, and Kevin and Sarah Ford.
Josiah Waters

Josiah Waters
, a 1999 graduate of New Mexico Tech, passed away in Tucson, Ariz., on Feb. 15, 2006.

Joe attended school in Klamath Falls, Ore., including Mazama High School, graduating in 1995. Following high school, Joe moved to Socorro, New Mexico where he attended the electrical engineering program at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. He graduated from there with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 1999. Following that, Joe moved to Tucson, Ariz., where he had already been recruited for a position with Raytheon.

Joe loved high performance sports cars and had even modified a Subaru WRX which he liked to race. He also liked mountain biking and hiking and had even completed a jump from an airplane. Joe had also recently purchased a motorcycle was enjoying learning to ride it. He also enjoyed traveling and going to concerts.

Survivors include his sister, Charlotte Waters of Klamath Falls, Annette Pritchard of Oregon City; brother, Chad Herring of Spokane, Wash.; stepfather, Vern Howard of Klamath Falls, Ore.; and father, John Herring of Portland, Ore.

Contributions may be made to the Epilepsy Foundation of America, 4351 Garden City Drive Landover, MD 20785-7223

Timothy Kee Williams
, 32, passed away Sunday, June 5, 2005. He was born February 12, 1973 in Gallup, N.M., a son of Tom C. and Dorothy Schwiedergoll Williams. He graduated from Menaul High School as a salutatorian. In 1996, he received a bachelor's degree in mathematics from New Mexico Tech. He had been accepted to the graduate program at UNM for a master's degree in mathematics. He was employed as a senior software principal engineer for Lockheed-Martin and loved his work.

His family recalled Tim as a loving husband, father, son, brother and friend. He was caring, thoughtful and gregarious. Tim was a jack of all trades who could be counted on for anything. He lived for his music and loved to compose music for his guitar and keyboard. Tim loved the outdoors.

Survivors include his wife, Yvonne; son, Marcus; daughter, Adrianna; mother, Dorothy; brother, Daniel; first wife, Alicia; and many close friends and family.

Jean E. Burand, age 88, passed away on Sept. 6, 2005. She and her late husband Willow Burand (53, BS, mining

engineering) were longtime supporters of the New Mexico School of Mines.


Philip Poirier passed away on Sept. 15, 2005, at the age of 55, of a sepsis infection, following surgery on an aneurysm

in his leg. Philpo was an iconic presence on the Tech campus in the late 1970s and early 1980s, receiving a BGS degree

in 1980 and a bachelor of metallurgical engineering in 1986. He had been working in the mining industry in Chile for the

past 17 years.