Raphael "Raphe" LaBauve II

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  • "Renee I'm so sorry to hear of your fathers passing he was a..."
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  • "Having occasion to be in the presence of both your parents,..."
    - Tim McIntire
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Raphael (Raphe) LaBauve II, formerly of Los Alamos, died on December 20 at his home in Corrales, New Mexico. He is survived by his daughter Renee LaBauve of Corrales; his son Raphael (Joe) LaBauve and his daughter-in-law Anna (formerly Moore) of Santa Fe, NM. He is also survived by his grandchildren and great grandchildren: Elisa (Sadie) LaBauve, her husband Kirk Kiracofe and their son Finneus, of Albuquerque; Claire LaBauve, her husband Francisco Roybal and their sons Charlie and Max of Albuquerque; and Annette LaBauve of Hayward, CA; as well as many nieces and nephews. Raphael was predeceased by his wife Patricia, his parents Raphael Joseph LaBauve and Irene Eisler LaBauve of Abbeville, Louisiana, as well as his five older sisters.
Raphe's World War II years were eventful: In 1943 he graduated from Louisiana State University (LSU), married his sweetheart Patricia Pardue, and received his commission in the US Army. After a year of training he was sent to Europe during the final days of the Battle of the Bulge. He commanded a machine gun platoon in Patton's Army, crossed the Rhine under fire and fought his way across Germany, ending up on the Czech border.
He left the regular army in 1946 and returned to LSU to complete his masters degree in physics. In 1951 he moved the family to China Lake, California, where he developed guidance systems for the Sidewinder missile and other naval ordinance.
In 1955 he moved the family to Los Alamos and signed on as a staff member at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. The first few years he spent in hands-on weapons research. After completing a degree in Nuclear Engineering at the University of New Mexico he worked on nuclear reactors for space applications. In the early 1970's he moved to the lab's theoretical division and helped set up the nuclear data group and was also a founding member of the national Cross Section Evaluation Working Group. His work in creating cross section data libraries gained him an international reputation in the field. He retired from the lab in 1987 but worked as a contractor until 1998.
Raphe particularly enjoyed playing and listening to music. He played the recorder, baroque flute and bassoon, and he and Pat attended early music workshops and gave classes. They started the Los Alamos chapter of the American Recorder Society and enjoyed playing early music with various groups of friends. They regularly attended concerts and the Santa Fe Opera, and Raphe also served on the Santa Fe Opera board. Every summer he rounded up carloads of kids and took them to the youth operas, fostering an early love of opera in many.
Raphe and Pat enjoyed many other activities. They loved cooking and entertaining and made a number of trips, both abroad and around the US. Both were longtime members and volunteers at Trinity on the Hill Episcopal Church at Los Alamos, where Raphe sang in the choir, served on the vestry and also served as church warden.
Raphe and Pat moved to Corrales in 2015; Pat died the following year. Raphe died peacefully at home on December 20th 2017 after a long battle with cancer. A memorial service will be held on Satruday January 27th, 10:30 AM at the Old San Ysidro Church, 973 Old Church Road, in Corrales, NM.
Published in Los Alamos Monitor on Jan. 12, 2018
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