John Lafayette Magee

Published 6:00 am Monday, January 16, 2006

Memorial services for John Lafayette Magee, of Moraga, Calif.,were 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 7 at Moraga Country Club.

Mr. Magee, 91, died Dec. 16, 2005, at an assisted livingfacility in Moraga. He was born in Franklinton, La., on Oct. 28,1914, to Edith Jenkins and John Lafayette Magee Sr.

Mr. Magee was a longtime scientist and chemistry professor atthe University of Notre Dame. He also worked on the ManhattanProject that developed the atomic bomb.

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He joined the faculty of the University of Notre Dame in 1948,where he served as chair of the Chemistry Department and directorof the Radiation Laboratory. After becoming a professor emeritus ofNotre Dame in 1978, he worked at the Lawrence Berkeley NationalLaboratory in California until his retirement in 1986.

He earned a B.S. from Mississippi College, an M.S. fromVanderbilt University and a Ph.D in chemistry from the Universityof Wisconsin and he did postdoctoral work at PrincetonUniversity.

From 1943-46 he was in Los Alamos, working on the atomic bombproject, participating in the Trinity and Bikini tests. Followingthat he worked at the Argonne National Laboratory, where he met hisfuture wife, Priscilla, before going to Notre Dame.

He was author or co-author of many articles in scientificpublications. He was a member of the American Chemical Society, theRadiation Research Society (of which he was president in 1967-68),the American Physical Society, the Royal Society of Chemistry, theAmerican Association for the Advancement of Science and theAmerican Association of University Professors.

He was an avid hiker and bicyclist, running in the StrawberryCanyon runs in Berkeley and in the Lawrence Berkeley LabRun-Arounds from 1980 to 1996.

Survivors are his wife of 48 years, Priscilla Williams Magee, ofMoraga; three children, Lawrence, of San Jose, Calif., Linda, ofPortland, Ore., and John Bradley, of Madrid, Spain; fivegrandchildren; two stepgrandchildren; one stepgreat-grandson; hissisters, Jonnie Clark, of Brookhaven, and Inez Reid, of Houston,Texas; his brother, Fred Magee, of Catoosa, Okla.; and many niecesand nephews.

Memorials may be made to Common Cause, the legal reformorganization HALT or the anti-poverty organization TechnoServe.