John Luther Kammerdiener passed peacefully in his sleep at 11:47 pm Wednesday, May 3, 2023, in Salt Lake City, Utah at the age of 85. He was preceded in death by his brother Norman and Sister Kathy. He is survived by his wife Ellen, daughter Kristen Allen and her husband John, daughter Susan Martin and her husband Spencer, son Mike Kammerdiener and his wife Stephanie, granddaughters Katie, Madi, Jenna, Lyndsey, and Lena, grandsons Graham, Evan, and Jackson and great-granddaughter Kinsley.
John had a great sense of humor and loved a good pun. He had a love of adventure and long road trips. He loved to learn, problem solve and build. He possessed both academic and practical intelligence. He loved the outdoors. His curiosity was infectious, and he loved to engage in long conversations.
He was a West Point graduate, 1st in his class back in 1961, and an army Ranger. He was stationed in Korea upon graduation and later served as Captain in Vietnam of the 557 LE Company, later becoming a Major. Prior to West Point, John grew up in different parts of Texas, being born in Perrin to parents Susie Norman and Leonard George Kammerdiener on July 6, 1937, and eventually graduating from high school in Ben Bolt and later the Shriner Military Institute, in Kerrville, before receiving his appointment to West Point in 1957.
After John completed his service in Vietnam, he returned to California, to be with his first wife Robin and their daughter Kristen to complete his education at UC Davis. He completed his PHD in Nuclear Physics under the mentorship of famed nuclear Physicist Edward Teller in 1971. Upon graduation, John left the US Army and took a position at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. Shortly after his move, he bought a cabin in Taos Ski Valley, NM, spending almost every weekend there. In 1975 John married his wife, fellow physicist, Ellen on a rock outside his cabin in the middle of the Hondo River. They had two kids together, Susan and Michael. After retiring from Los Alamos National Laboratory in 2000, John and Ellen moved to Marble Falls, TX to help fulfill one of John’s lifelong dreams of being a rancher back in his home state. He tended his ranch outside Liberty Hill, TX up until 2021.
John received many awards and honors during his beautiful life. A few of them include: Los Alamos National Laboratory Fellow, Hertz Fellow, Shriner Legend, first in his class at West Point and Taos Ski Valley Water and Sanitation District President.
We are going to miss you Dad, John, and Grandpa! Thank you for preparing all of us for your ride off into the sunset. In true form, you figured out the “right” way to do it. We love you!