Celebrate Los Alamos Treasures

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By The Staff

The 60th birthday party for Los Alamos  County will take place June 10. As the community marks this milestone with a year-long calendar of events to honor the occasion, Living Treasures of Los Alamos celebrates its 10th anniversary by honoring Laurence Martin “Marty” Holland; Lawry and Alice Mann; and Dale Holm at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Betty Ehart Senior Center.


The public is invited to attend the ceremony and reception, sponsored by Los Alamos National Bank.  Living Treasures of Los Alamos was founded to honor elders " those older members of the community who have made a difference.  Oral histories have been conducted, biographical sketches have been written, and photographs have been taken of the four Treasures; now it’s once again time to invite northern New Mexicans to come together to celebrate the contributions of those who have so greatly enhanced life on the Hill. During the ceremony, each Treasure is introduced.   For those who have not yet attended a Living Treasures ceremony, after biographical information is shared, those in attendance are invited to share stories and remembrances about each Treasure. Each Treasure then addresses the gathering.   The celebration concludes with a reception.  In Los Alamos, Living Treasures ceremonies are held in April.  Family and friends will be traveling to Los Alamos from all over the country to honor Marty, Lawry and Alice, and Dale as Living Treasures of Los Alamos.Laurence Martin  “Marty” Holland

 “In the 1960s, when I was in practice, I was the only veterinarian north of Santa Fe, between here and the Colorado border,” Laurence Martin “Marty” Holland said.

“Since I would treat any animal, and most of the other veterinarians only treated small animals, I would get many calls. One of my clients was the renowned artist, Georgia O’Keeffe. She brought her two Chows and all the stray cats that wandered into her house to me. I got to know her pretty well.”

After graduating from Omaha Central High School in Omaha, Neb. in 1948, Marty entered the Air Force. He was assigned to the Military Police when, “because of budget concerns, it was decided that too many people were in the service,” he said. “I was released from active duty after having served for a year.”

Marty studied agriculture at Colorado State University (CSU) in Fort Collins, but “dropped out and took a job as a ranch hand, at a place called the Wyoming Hereford Ranch,” he said. “The staff veterinarian, Dr. Harry Kingman was well known in national veterinary circles. After watching him, I knew what I wanted to do.”

Marty earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) at CSU in 1958.

During college Marty met Phyllis Borderud, a North Dakota girl, and after both had received their degrees, they were married in Cheyenne, Wyo., on April 18, 1959.

 Having traveled through and fallen in love with northern New Mexico as an adult, Marty became aware of an opening for a veterinarian in Los Alamos in 1960. The Holland family arrived in June.

As  Marty  and Phyllis raised their daughters, Ann (who was born in Fort Collins) and Caroline and son, Gregory, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) came calling, and Marty was hired as a staff member in the Health Division’s H-4 in 1966.

“I was a group leader for LANL’S “Life Sciences Division,” he said. “I was also the Life Sciences Deputy Division Leader. LANL afforded me travel opportunities, including trips to the Soviet Union and other European countries.”

He retired from LANL on Jan. 1, 1991.

Marty, a Republican said he was surprised when he ran for County Council in the 1970s, and won. He said, “I served as council chair in 1974 and 1976. I think the most important thing we did during my tenure was to initiate the county’s first general obligation bond, divided into three parts: repairs for Fuller Lodge; a community swimming pool; and a new police station. The portion to fix the Lodge passed, as did the money to build a jail and police station. Although the vote for the money to fund a municipal swimming pool failed, this three-part request was the first general obligation bond passed by county referendum.”

Marty served as municipal judge from 1987-1994.

 “Nobody was running, so I won,” he chuckled. “Municipal judges hear cases involving traffic offenses; driving while intoxicated, trespassing, anything that happens within the county ordinances.”

Following his two terms as judge, Marty became a member of the Los Alamos Council on Alcoholism.

He also served on the New Mexico State Scientific Laboratory Advisory Committee regarding the use of non-alcohol substances by impaired drivers.

The biggest problem for nursing homes everywhere “is keeping staff,” Marty said. “I joined the board of directors of Los Alamos Retirement Community, which owned Sombrillo Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Later, in the early 1990s, we developed and built Aspen Ridge Lodge. I’m very proud of my role in that endeavor.”

Marty has served on the Retirement Community Board, which oversees Sombrillo and Aspen Ridge for nine years and was president for three terms. And, Marty added, “we have really good rehabilitation facilities, but we have got to raise money.”

As Marty and Phyllis celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on Saturday with their children and five grandchildren, Marty offered the following advice: “be good to your wife, and you will have a happy life.”


Lawry Webb Mann and

Alice Robles Mann

 “Sarov, Russia (formerly known in Soviet days as Arzamas-16) became the Sister City to Los Alamos in 1994,” Lawry said.

“I was chair of the Los Alamos County Council when it voted unanimously to approve a resolution inviting Sarov to become a Sister City to Los Alamos. The Sister Cities program, now in its 53rd year, was started by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.”

Lawry and Alice have traveled to Sarov twice.

 “Although the gates came down in Los Alamos in 1957, Sarov is still behind gates; one can’t get in unless invited,” Alice said. “The first group of non-scientists who traveled to Sarov in 1995 included five women; I was one.”

Lawry and Alice have spent countless hours with the Sarov Sister City committee, preparing for and hosting the visiting groups from Sarov, humorously referred to by some Arzamas-16 scientists as “Los Arzamas.” They have served as goodwill ambassadors, interfacing with government leaders, doctors, educators, professional women, business leaders and students.

 “We have had probably close to 48 Sister City exchanges,” Lawry said. “This summer, we will help send 10 Los Alamos students and three chaperones to Sarov for two-and-a-half weeks.”

When Lawry was 11 years old, his father Oren, mother Barbara and brother Jerry moved to Candle, Alaska, just south of the Arctic Circle.

“My father was the head mechanical engineer for a gold mining operation. That was the important part of my youth,” Lawry said.

Lawry graduated from high school in Ellensburg, Wash., where he also attended two years of college. He then attended Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, obtained his master’s degree in physics and then entered the Navy.

“The Navy sent me to post graduate school to become a meteorologist. I met Alice Robles at a church dance in Monterey, Calif. in 1955,” Lawry said. “Alice was in school at San Jose State University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in recreation therapy in 1956.”

After graduating from Carbon County High School in Price, Utah, Alice went to Carbon College for two years. She joined the Marine Corps “during the Korean War,” she said.  “I was in the Marines from 1951-54. I worked at the Personal Effects and Baggage Center, which is where the luggage that got separated from its owner was sent during the war. Ted Williams, the baseball player, came to get his luggage, but I didn’t even know who ‘Major Ted Williams’ was.”

Lawry and Alice were married at the Los Angeles, California Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on May 28, 1956.

 “Two months after we were married, we went to Iwakuni, Japan, 30 miles north of Hiroshima, for two years,” Lawry said. While Lawry tracked typhoons, Alice was one of two non-Japanese women who worked at the Navy base. One day, India’s first prime minister, Jawaharial Nehru was visiting with city officials in Hiroshima.

“Since the Japanese men only met with other men, the captain’s secretary and I were asked to entertain his daughter, Indira Gandhi, for the day,” Alice said.

“She later became prime minister and was assassinated.”

 Alice also taught English “to two classes of 44 students each,” she said.  “It took me the whole year to match the names to the faces.”

She also studied Ikebana, the art of Japanese flower arranging at both the Ohara and Ikenobo Schools, and her love of flower arranging became a life-long passion from which many local organizations benefited. Alice has furnished floral arrangements for the Art Center at Fuller Lodge for 30 years, and used to provide weekly arrangements at the Senior Center during its early years.    

For 45 years, Alice provided the arrangements each Sunday for the LDS Church.

After Lawry left the Navy, he was offered a job at LANL. The Manns came to Los Alamos in 1958, but went to Seattle, Wash. in 1960, where Lawry worked for Boeing. Their first daughter, Jacoi, was born in Los Alamos, and their first son, Arthur, was born in Seattle.

 After returning to Los Alamos in 1964, they welcomed a second son, Nathan, and a second daughter, Jocelyn.

 Lawry worked at LANL’s Theoretical Division.

 “I had really good people to work with at LANL,” Lawry said.

“My first boss, George White, was the person who initiated the effort to get a cemetery in Los Alamos. Then, when Harold Agnew became LANL director, I went to work with Don Baker in the Controlled Thermonuclear Reaction (CTR) Division, which is where I worked until my retirement in 1991. I was a group leader. I had a tremendous group of people who all made me look good.  Don Baker and I were a good team. Calling ourselves ‘fusioneers,’ we worked in controlled fusion. We did a lot of pioneering in computer modeling. I loved working at the forefront of science.”

Alice lent her support to the Los Alamos Chapter of the American Field Service.

 “As finance chair, I had to think of ways to earn the money we needed to bring a student from another country to Los Alamos each year,” Alice said.

“We hosted a fashion show with 82 costumes from around the world. For another fundraiser, I ended up cooking more than 2,000 teriyaki chicken wings and selling them for ten cents each. I was cooking forever! We held about five events, but when I burned out, nobody took over.”

 1968 was a year permanently etched in the memory of Lawry and Alice; Alice was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

“We really owe a big debt of gratitude to Dr. James Loucks,” Lawry said. “Without his skill and expertise, Alice would never have known her nine grandchildren.”

Alice taught classes for the former Los Alamos Arts and Crafts Association from 1970-1990, and nature crafts at the Los Alamos Senior Center, then at Fuller Lodge.”

Lawry ran for the Los Alamos County Council in 1992. Having been told that he lost, he celebrated at a “losers party,” he said. “But, after a recount, I was declared the winner and ended up on the council for 10 years. I was chair during the Cerro Grande Fire in 2000; that was a trying experience. We evacuated 18,000 people without incident due to the careful planning by the county staff and the great cooperation of all of our citizens.”

Lawry is vice chair of the Northern New Mexico Regional Economic Development Corporation. He has also been active in the Energy Communities Alliance and the New Mexico Municipal League.

Utility board chairman and member during the county’s commodities acquisition project, “it was decided that two hydroelectric dams would be constructed at El Vado and Abiquiu,” Lawry said.

“We met twice a week. We borrowed more than  $100 million, and we are within six years of having it paid off. As a result, Los Alamos has energy independence, and we are giving to the next generation.”

Alice has been collecting crèches during her travels for more than 40 years. While president of the LDS Women’s Relief Society, she came up with a plan to share her crèches, along with those owned by others, with her hometown.

 The crèche show was first held in 1994,” she said. “Now in its 15th year, we have shown crèches from around the world. We are always looking for people who are willing to share their crèches, and deeply appreciate the time they take to display them.”

Lawry, one of  the  founders of Leadership Los Alamos, co-chairs the community’s 60th anniversary committee with Christine Chandler.  Alice is a member of the Art in Public Places board.

It has been 52 years since then newlyweds Alice and Lawry made their way to Japan.

“Since then, we have traveled to the Asian countries, Russia, most of Europe and Mexico,” they said. “We will celebrate our 53rd wedding anniversary in China. We will be gone for the month of May, but then we will come home. We are New Mexicans.”

Dale M. Holm

 “In 1957, on a spring day of poor skiing at Sawyer’s Hill, a small group of us decided that we wanted better skiing in Los Alamos,” said Dale Holm. “Mal Wallace, Tom Putnam and I had previously heard about Pajarito Mountain; we knew roughly where it was.

“The next weekend, we decided to cross-country ski to Pajarito. We didn’t make it, but we were pleased to find a few feet of snow on the north facing slopes of Pajarito Canyon. A couple of weeks later, a group of us made it as far as Never Shine Hill in Stretch Fretwell’s Jeep and hiked up to the bottom of what is now the Big Mother lift. There was still three feet of snow on a slope that had previously been cleared by the boys who attended the Los Alamos Ranch School.”

Utilizing  some  of his 50,000 photos, Dale has made videos to document the history of the Los Alamos Ski Club’s move to Pajarito Mountain and the Los Alamos Ski Patrol’s 50th anniversary.

After his father died in 1929, Dale started selling magazines when he was six.

“I delivered groceries on my bike for 10 cents an hour through grade school,” said Dale, who studied aviation at Portland’s Benson Polytechnic High School from 1939-1942.

After   joining the Navy in 1942, Dale was a member of an underwater demolition team, a precursor of the Navy Seals.

In “Maui, Hawaii, our job was to be dropped in the ocean, usually a mile or more off shore, swim in, and make a night reconnaissance,” he said.

“Sometimes, we   would go up on the beach or blow up obstacles for landing craft. We drew up maps of what we saw or did. Other times, the job was to lead the first waves of soldiers in landing barges to the beach.”

 While at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Dale met a “redhead named Molly Nancy Murphy,” he said. “I invited Molly to go skiing.”

They were married on June 5, 1949, the same day Dale graduated.

Hired to work at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in 1952, Dale and Molly arrived in Santa Fe, on “Zozobra night,” Dale recalled.

Dale taught skiing at Sawyer’s Hill and helped form the first local men’s race team, which won the Spitz Memorial trophy in Santa Fe in 1953.

 The “Nail Benders” met often “to discuss the needs of those of us who were building our own homes on Barranca Mesa,” said Dale.

“Stones used in our home came from the old Ice House, which was to be torn down.”

Dale and Molly’s children: Chris, Heidi, and Eric grew up skiing, backpacking, camping and riding horses in northern New Mexico.

Their children later made them proud grandparents to six grandchildren.

 Active in the Sheriff’s Posse for 10 years, Dale transported horses to various state parades and organized skill drills for young riders.

Dale recently presented a video to the Sheriff’s Posse in celebration of the Posse Shack’s 50th anniversary.

At LANL, Dale, who earned his Ph.D. from Oregon State University in Corvallis, worked as a physicist.

“I led the world in gamma scanning equipment,” he said, “and wrote the very first paper on the application of lithium drifted Germanium detectors.”

He retired from LANL in 1987, after doing biophysics research that was needed for the human genome project.

A group leader for an agricultural bioscience group, he also worked in an intelligence group.

An avid gardener, Dale taught grafting to the Master Gardeners.

Dale and Molly taught ballroom dancing to dancers of all ages from 1995-2008. He videotaped his students to assist them in refining their techniques.

“I really feel fortunate that I was able to come to Los Alamos,” Dale said. “Whenever I traveled, I would look to see if there was another place I wanted to live. I never found it.