6 Feb
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John L. Kammerdiener

Company G-2

7/6/1937 - 3 May 2023
Place of Death: Salt Lake City, UT

Interment: TBD

It is with great regret and sorrow that I must notify you of the death of our Classmate, John Kammerdiener, on May 3, 2023, in Salt Lake City, UT.

John is survived by his wife, Ellen; daughter Kristen Allen and her husband John; daughter Susan Martin and her husband Spencer; son Mike and his wife Stephanie; granddaughters Katie, Madi, Jenna, Lyndsey, and Lena; grandsons Graham, Evan, and Jackson; and great-granddaughter Kinsley.

Funeral services will be held on a date to be determined.

Condolences may be sent to Ellen at 400 3rd Street, Marble Falls, TX 78654.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in John’s memory be sent to the charity of your choice.

Well done, John.  Be thou at peace.

Click here to go to John's Last Roll Call Tribute.


Class Memorial Pages\Kammerdiener.pdf


John Luther Kammerdiener
1937 - 2023

John Luther Kammerdiener passed peacefully in his sleep at 11:47 pm Wednesday, May 3rd, 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.

He 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 6th, 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 1st 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, 1st 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!

I’m crying as I write this. I was his only niece and the first-born among his original family. My mother, Kathleen Leonard, died in Aug 2018. It was my Uncle John who provided the rock I needed not only at that time but as a little girl when my newly single mom moved me and my brother David to be near him in Livermore.

I recall his weird green scrambled eggs (SOS, learnt to make in his Vietnam tour), served to shock and cause me to scream. He laughed loudly, a trait he shared with fellow wit, my mom. His mom, Susie, adored her second son especially. They used to go to SF Giants games together, and she was heard yelling “Hit it, Willie!”, repeated again and again in family lore. My uncle adored his family including sweet older brother Norman, who left us far too soon in the 80s.

What can you say about your patriarch? That he was brilliant, tough and one-of-a-kind? Or that he loved his niece, expressing a fatherly warmth even as I sometimes feared him. For like others in the family, I’m sure he often frowned upon my choices (asking my mom why I chose to be a creative writing major instead of something I could make money at, for example), but when, at 57, I was marching across the stage at Royal Festival Hall in London, he and Ellen watched the livestream. This touched me deeply, as that day came just four months after Mom died. And besides, he was a part of my achievement, having let me interview him on eighteenth-century surveying practices! Note, he did not want to be cited and wanted it clear this was just a hobby, not part of being a nuclear physicist. I followed my supervisor’s advice and mentioned him in acknowledgements.

Yesterday, unknowing of his death, I went to where he and I had stood twenty years ago to look at the ducks and mallards in Milford, Conn. I thought of him, as yesterday for the first time, I saw two geese and several goslings. Uncle John was a proud atheist and I am as well, but if I were religious I’d be inclined to think he’s still watching over me.