Albert W. (Al) Blackstock was born on January 25, 1927, to Joseph Beauford and Lela (Virginia) Howdeshell Blackstock in Waco, Texas. The middle child of three sons, Al demonstrated a penchant for learning at an early age, often choosing studying over outdoor sports, which ultimately led to a Bachelor of Science from Texas A&M, a Master of Science from Rice University, and a PhD from North Carolina State University, all in physics. His early college years were interspersed with 2 years serving in the U.S. Navy. While pursuing his PhD, Al met his future wife, Doris Grace Dodson, at a young singles adult group at church in Waco. While Al was working on his PhD dissertation in Oak Ridge Tennessee, he and Doris married in a very modest wedding ceremony (where the minister was late because he forgot about the service, and which ended with a wedding dinner at an A&W root beer stand).
After Al obtained his PhD, their son, Alan, was born while Al was working at Convair in
Fort Worth, Texas. Al also worked at General Atomics in San Diego, California before embarking on a 30-plus year career at Los Alamos National Laboratory. In his early days working at
Los Alamos, where Anne was born, Al observed the final nuclear tests at Enewetak Atoll aboard a ship. Later he worked on the Rover project, on thermoluminescent dosimetry devices, and on reactor safety calculations for the Y-12 complex in Oak Ridge.
Al was the (sometimes patient) math and science tutor for his children, neither of which inherited his aptitude in those fields, during their elementary and secondary schooling. Al and his family enjoyed the outdoors—local hiking and vacationing at more than a few national parks. Al enjoyed a good meal. Once when questioned about his hearty appetite, he answered, “I never feel full; I just stop eating.” Al and Doris enjoyed traveling after his retirement to Alaska, Nova Scotia, Scotland, and Ireland, along with several other excursions.
On February 19, just weeks after his 96th birthday, Al passed peacefully from his home in
Los Alamos to his eternal home, for a reunion with his dad and brothers, J.B. and Bob. He leaves behind family who look forward to the day we will see him again: his loving wife, Doris; son Alan (Raquel); daughter Anne Garnett (Bob); granddaughters Noelle and Claire; sister-in-law Mayme Lou Blackstock; and many nephews and nieces.
The family would like to thank the home health aides who cared for Al with such patience and kindness over the years and right up until his passing; Al’s long-time primary care physician,
Dr. James Ziomek and staff; the Los Alamos Medical Center Emergency Room and hospital staff; Amber Care hospice; and Rivera Family Funeral Home.
Services will be held at the United Methodist Church in Los Alamos, New Mexico, 715 Diamond Drive, on Saturday, March 11 at 10:00 a.m.
If you would like to make a memorial gift in Albert’s name, please consider a donation to the hunger ministry at First United Methodist Church of Los Alamos, a ministry that was close to Al’s heart.