Obituaries, February - June 2007

Obituaries, February - June 2007

[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.]

Kenneth Bayer, a 1938 graduate in geological engineering, passed away January 27, 2007 at age 90. He was born in the Bronx, and after earning his degree from the New Mexico School of Mines, Ken spent his next 25 years working on geological and geophysical projects around the globe. He worked for industry, primarily for the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey.
Ken spent his second quarter century working for the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey (Dept. of Commerce) and the USGS. After his retirement in 1988, Ken resided in northern Virginia. He and his wife Vivian had three children and two grandchildren.

Richard Brannan passed away on Feb. 4, 2007, at the age of 82. He earned his Master's of Science Teaching degree at New Mexico Tech in 1971 and was a longtime teacher in Belen, having a great impact on hundreds of budding scientists. He was president of the Southwest Geological Society and a New Mexico district director of Boy Scouts of America. He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Gloria; four sons and four daughters; 16 grandchildren and 26 great-grandchildren.

Lorin "Len" Hawes, a 1953 graduate in chemistry, passed away on March 9, at his home in Runaway Bay, Queensland, Australia. According to his brother, William Hawes ('60, BS, mining engineering), after Len graduated from the School of Mines, he worked at Los Alamos. Following his military service, Len, his first wife, MaryElla, and infant son, Philip, all emigrated to Australia, where their other three children were born, Rodney, Ernie and Genny Lou.

After completing his Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from the University of Tasmania, Len became a lecturer in chemistry at the National University of Canberra. It was there he became interested in boomerangs, through acquaintance with Australian Aborigines. He found it to be a profitable hobby. The family made the plunge and abandoned a secure academic career to develop a 200-acre former farm into a boomerang park. According to Len's brother Bill, "A Canberra newspaper wrote a fairly lengthy piece deriding my brother's 'foolhardy' choice." The park became very successful, although the real profit came when they sold out in the very late 1970s, as land values had appreciated.

After his first marriage ended, Len met and married Marilyn Binas, a graduate medical technician. Len and Marilyn had three daughters, Susan (who studied pharmacy and is now a medical student), Krystal, (now an optometrist), and Alice, who will be graduating in pharmacy from the University of Queensland this year. Bill Hawes added, "True to his nature, my brother guided his daughters into very well-paying professions."

After starting his second family, Len bought a piece of land at Hope Island, a development near his home in Runaway Bay. Here, he started making boomerangs again, until he sold the place and retired when the price of real estate went up again.

Len Hawes is survived by his wife Marilyn, sons Phillip and Ernest M., and by daughters Genevieve Stone, Susan Hawes, Krystal Hawes, and Alice Hawes, all of Queensland. A son, Rodney, preceded him in death. Larry Libersky

Larry Libersky
(78, Ph.D., physics), passed away in March 2007. He was born on June 11, 1946. After earning his Ph.D. at New Mexico Tech, Larry joined Tech Terminal Effects Research and Analysis (TERA) group in 1979 as a post-doc. He worked for them as a research physicist through 1997, when he left for other employment. At the time of his death, he worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory. According to his family, physics was his profession, which he loved, but his passion was playing trumpet and guitar, composing his own songs, and writing many articles concerning spiritual matters. He was a resident of Magdalena and is survived by his wife, Dee; mother, Evelyn Libersky of Lyle MN; sons, Jason Libersky and wife, Manuela of Albuquerque; Seth Brown of Albuquerque; and daughter, Rachel Ortiz and husband, Carlos Ortiz of Albuquerque. Daniel Roddy

Daniel Abraham Roddy, a 1934 alumnus of the New Mexico School of Mines, passed away on March 5, 2007.

Dan was born February 7, 1912, in Roswell, New Mexico, one month after the Territory of New Mexico was admitted to the Union. He was the only child of George E. Roddy and Margaret M. Reed Roddy. Upon his graduation from Albuquerque High School, he attended New Mexico School of Mines, where he earned a degree in mining engineering. His first job was at the Ground Hog Mine in Vanadium, New Mexico, not as an engineer but as a miner, mining the hard way for gold, silver, lead, zinc, and copper.

With the Depression still going on, Dan moved on to the small mining town of Miami, Arizona, where he was hired as a sampler at the Miami Copper Mine. It was there that he met Violet Striplin at a dance on November 11, 1935. They were married January 24, 1936.

In 1942 they moved to San Diego, California, where Dan did some surveying at Camp Pendleton and later took a position as construction engineer during the rebuilding of Lindberg Field. Some time later, he took a job with Filtrol Corporation, and the family moved to Whittier, California. After several years with Filtrol, he took a position with Tidewater Oil Company. In 1958 Getty Oil acquired Tidewater, and he was transferred to Bakersfield, California. He worked for Getty as a civil and petroleum engineer and a production foreman until his retirement in 1977.

Dan and Vi became interested in rock hounding and joined the Kern County Mineral Society in 1964. He served that club as field scout, show chairman, vice president, and president (twice). When he had his equipment, he made cabochons, spheres, bookends, and other items. In later years his main interest became petrified wood, which he studied using a special program on his computer.

In November 2003, he moved to Miami, Florida, to reside with his daughter Betty and her husband Art Heggen. During that time, he was active in the Miami Fossil Club. Two years later, he moved into The Palace at Kendall, an assisted living center.

He was preceded in death by his son, Daniel G. Roddy, in 1983 and by his wife in 1989. He is survived by three grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Florence M. Walker
, age 94, formerly of Socorro, NM and Green River, WY, passed away Thursday, February 15, 2007 at the Sarah A. Todd Memorial Home, Carlisle, PA.

Florence was known to many alumni as an administrative assistant in the Graduate Office of New Mexico Tech. After retirement at age 67, she completed her college education, earning a bachelor's degree with highest honors from Tech.

Born October 23, 1912 in Green River, WY, she was a daughter of the late William S. and Esther Mee (Crofts) Mortimer. Florence was a dedicated partner in her husband's pastoral ministry, serving eleven churches in six states. A passionate gardener and friend of the environment, she made her backyard garden an oasis in the desert of New Mexico. It was haven to an untold number of desert turtles and birds. She loved reading, bird watching, her Yorkshire Terriers, sharing her garden, and especially being with her family.

Florence was a member of P.E.O., First Presbyterian Church, the Garden Club, and Friends of the Bosque del Apache Refuge. She was the widow of the Rev. Albert C. Walker and preceded in death by her son James A. Walker, a brother Harold Mortimer and three sisters, Evelyn Carle, Elna Horton and Ruth Ann Hermanson. Surviving are two daughters, Evelyn R. "Becky" (Gene) Collins of New Cumberland, Charlotte A. (Jim) Shinn of Hopkins, MN, a son, Wesley C. (Barbara) Walker of Muscatine, IA, a sister, Billee May Skinner of Salt Lake City, UT; 11 grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren, a great-great grandson, and several nieces and nephews.
Amber Woodyatt

Amber Alice Woodyatt (04, BS, chemistry) passed away suddenly at her Albuquerque home on May 18, 2007. Amber was born in Farmington on Feb. 18, 1975, and was a 1993 graduate of Farmington High School. She spend a year at West Point before enrolling at New Mexico Tech, where she studied biology and eventually took a degree in chemistry. At the time of her passing, Amber had just finished her first year of pharmacy school at the University of New Mexico and was an employee at Smith's pharmacy in Socorro on weekends.

Amber was a lifelong advocate of animal rights and was formerly employed at the Ark of Socorro Veterinary Clinic. She was an avid outdoor enthusiast and music lover. She was also politically active in promoting both peace and preservation of the environment. The family requests that donations be made in her memory to the Animal Protective Association of Socorro.