Obituary: Alexander Kent Kendrick Jan. 29, 1993 – Sept. 4, 2022

Alexander Kent Kendrick, Ph.D., 29, of Los Alamos, NM, lost his valiant battle with brain cancer surrounded by his wife Caroline and family in his home on Sunday, September 4, 2022. 

Born to Laura (Tharp) and Brian Kendrick in Burnsville, Minnesota on January 29, 1993, the family moved to Los Alamos when Alexander was a baby. He attended the Los Alamos County schools.

Alexander loved caving with his father and his younger brother Coleman and joined the Pajarito Grotto when he was 8 years old. This passion of caving led Alexander to develop a digital cave radio for cavers, who, from deep inside a cave, could communicate with operators on the surface. This project won Alexander the Best of Category award at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). It is just one of many honors, including an asteroid named after him, and an all-expenses paid trip to CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, that he won at ISEF. 

In 2015, Alexander earned a B.S. in physics with distinction at Harvey Mudd College. In August 2021, Alexander earned his Ph.D. in geophysics at Stanford University. His thesis is entitled, “Investigating the use of NMR [nuclear magnetic resonance] to estimate hydraulic conductivity.” He studied under his research advisor Professor Rosemary Knight and collaborated with the Environmental Geophysics department at Stanford University. He served on the Graduate Student Advisory Committee as a liaison between geophysics graduate students and the Dean’s office of the School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Science. Alexander was awarded a competitive ARCS (Achievement Rewards for College Scientists) Foundation scholarship during his graduate studies at Stanford. 

In June 2021, Alexander married his sweetheart Caroline Wurden at Fuller Lodge in an epic pre-Delta variant celebration, complete with big band music, peonies, and cheesecake. He had won Caroline’s heart back in their high school science fair days, but it took a few years for him to catch on. Their love for each other was not even rivaled by their combined love of tea, science, board games, and sea chanties.

In addition to his many scholastic projects and achievements, Alexander worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Solar REU. Most recently, Alexander created the “Weather Almanac.” He designed, coded, and built a weather station that collected daily local weather data, and compared it to historical data for the same area. Recipients received a daily email with a plot and summary statistics of historical weather data. Alexander entered his Weather Almanac in the 2022 China-US Young Maker Competition, and in August 2022, Alexander’s project won first prize. Alexander designed the Weather Almanac as a template to inform people of trends for climate change in their local areas, promote citizen science, and increase climate change advocacy.

Alexander was a soccer afficionado, though he would prefer we call it football. He began playing as a young boy in local and Duke City soccer leagues, then joined the Los Alamos High School soccer team which won the 4A state championship in 2010. He continued playing recreationally through his graduate school years. He was a passionate fan of the Chelsea Football Club. During the time Alexander was at Stanford, he enjoyed attending professional soccer matches and watching many more at lunch time (and any other time) with his grad school buddies. He enjoyed making tea, pancakes, and cheese scones during the halftimes of early-morning matches.

Alexander was a seasoned traveler, having been to New Zealand, Singapore, Cambodia, Denmark, Switzerland, Germany, France and England. He and Caroline enjoyed exploring Europe and car tripping along the west coast. The couple drove to many of the western U.S. National Parks and Monuments. A keen photographer, Alexander captured the vistas of his travels, and with macro photography, highlighted details that would otherwise go unnoticed. He shared his photography with his family and friends, who in turn shared a montages-worth of pictures of Alexander behind the camera. Friends and family will remember Alexander for his passion for geophysics, exploration, and football, his love for family and friends, his persistent manners, his humanity and grace, and his deep love for Caroline. 

Alexander is survived by his wife Caroline; his parents Laura and Brian; his brother Coleman of Knoxville, TN; his grandparents, Charles and Linda Tharp of Las Cruces, NM, and Cagle Kendrick of Santa Fe, NM; his uncle Craig Tharp and wife Chandra, their daughter Alyssa and granddaughter, Sawyer of Las Cruces, NM; his uncle Craig Kendrick and wife Julie and their children Traci, Katie, Bailey, Michael, Claire and granddaughter Emma of Tomball, TX;  his in-laws Nancy and Glen Wurden of White Rock, NM; Caroline’s siblings  Katherine (Wurden) and husband Craigen Higgins of Los Alamos, NM; Alexander and wife Meredith Wurden of Sacramento, CA; Caroline’s nieces and nephews Tegan and Raleigh Wurden, Etta, Linden, and Calvin Higgins; close friends from across the globe; and his dog Benny.  Alexander was predeceased by his grandmother Sonja Kendrick. 

The family has requested a private burial. A Celebration of Life will be announced at a future date. In memory of Alexander, contributions may be sent to the Glenn Garcelon Foundation, which supports brain tumor patients, caregivers, and their families.  The family would like to thank Patricia Murphy, PNP and the Pediatric NeuroOncology team from Lucile Packard Children’s hospital at Stanford University, Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church of Los Alamos, NM, and Ambercare of Espanola, NM.