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Rudolph Octavio Velasco

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By The Staff

VELASCO - Rudolph Octavio Velasco went to be with the Lord on Nov. 2, 2007. He was born in Tucson, Ariz., on Oct. 24, 1921. Rudy was preceded in death by his infant son William; his mother and father Julia and José; brother Carlos; and, in 2004, his beloved wife of 56 years Callie Louise Maass. He is survived by seven children; 11 grandchildren and one great-grandchild: Gloria from Albuquerque and daughter Melodie and husband Rob Stenger and son Oliver from Portland, Ore., and daughter Leah from Boston, Mass.; Melanie and husband Skip Alexander from RedWing Minn., and children Emily from San Diego, Calif., Callie from St. Thomas Island and Ian from Madison, Wisc.; Jim and wife Katherine and son Daniel of Boulder, Colo.; Diane and husband Mark Harty and daughter Julia of Albuquerque; John and wife Barbara and children Sean Higgins and wife Autumn, Jesse and Sarah of Rio Rancho; Lisa and husband Bill Spurgeon and Robert of Rio Rancho; and Robert Velasco of Angel Fire, N.M. He is also survived by his dear sister Rogee Byers and family of Mission Viejo, Calif. Our beloved father, “Nino” and brother passed serenely at home attended by his loving family. He was also attended by his devoted caregivers Shonnell Smith and Gloria Mata. Rudy attended the University of Arizona, where he earned a degree in electrical engineering. He transferred to the University of California at Berkeley where his expertise in vacuum tubes aided the research in isotope separation. He was later drafted into the U.S. Army and was assigned to the Y12 Calutron Development at Oak Ridge National Laboratory based on his research at UC Berkeley. While at Oak Ridge he was assigned to the elite Special Engineering Detachment and soon thereafter was relocated to Los Alamos, N.M. It is in Los Alamos where he met his future wife Callie, who was a chemist during the war effort. Rudy was in the company of leading scientists and directors of the day and often reminisced of many unique and wonderful experiences. He enjoyed hunting, horseback riding, and socializing with his wife and many friends in those early days of Los Alamos. Rudy and Callie proceeded to make their home in this mountain community, becoming involved in the activities of his children, church and community. He and his growing family enjoyed wonderful times together skiing, camping and fishing in the mountains and rivers of the area. Ever seeking to further his knowledge in engineering, Rudy returned to school while raising five children and with the loving support of Callie managed to earn a graduate degree in nuclear engineering from the University of New Mexico. His career-long commitment to the Zia Company, where he retired as utilities chief, and his later association with Los Alamos National Laboratory put him in the annals of history of Los Alamos and the times in the growth of our country. Excerpts of his life are included in the book written about this era of history titled “They Changed the World,” by A.J. Melnick. A rosary will be held at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9, 2007, at French Mortuary Westside Chapel. A funeral mass in celebration of Rudy’s life will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, 2007, at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, 3700 Canyon Road, Los Alamos, N.M., with Father John Carney officiating. A private interment at Guaje Pines Cemetery, and an enchilada dinner at the parish will follow the ceremony. Pallbearers are Jim Velasco, John Velasco, Robert Velasco, Skip Alexander, Mark Harty and William Spurgeon. Honorary pallbearers are Robert Spurgeon and Sean Higgins. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the American Cancer Society, 10501 Montgomery NE, Ste 300, Albuquerque, NM 87111. Attn: Lorraine West, or 1-800-227-2345, or through the website www.cancer.org. – Submitted by French Mortuary, 9300 Golf Course Road NW, 505-897-0300, www.frenchmortuary.com.