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Lawrence Seymor Germain

1923 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Lawrence Seymor Germain Obituary
Germain, Lawrence (Larry) Seymour

Larry Germain of Albuquerque, NM, died on June 22, 2017. Dr. Germain was born on October 26, 1923, in Fresno, CA, to educators John and Frances Germain.

After attending local schools in Stockton, CA, he entered the University of California, Berkeley where he earned a doctorate in physics in June 1949 with a thesis related to cosmic ray-mesotrons.

That summer Larry moved to Portland, OR, with his new wife, Sally Layport from Berkeley, CA, and joined the faculty of Reed College. He enjoyed teaching Physics at Reed, and spent his summers working with Nobel Prize winner Earnest Orlando Lawrence's group at UC Berkeley. This research group moved to Livermore in the fall of 1952 to form what is now the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Lab). Larry rejoined this group full time after the 1952-53 school year at Reed, and moved to Danville, CA with Sally and his son Keith. While residing in Danville, Larry became the Senior Warden at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church and assumed responsibility for church finances, selecting rectors, and teaching the high school Sunday School class. At the Lab Larry designed fission weapons and took an active role in their testing in the Pacific Proving Grounds and later at the Nevada Test Site, when underground testing was required by the Limited Test Ban Treaty. In 1971, Larry supported the US delegation in Geneva, Switzerland engaging in the Strategic Arms Limitations Talks (SALT). Larry also led the Lab's efforts to contain all nuclear radiation underground, and in 1975, he became the Division Leader of the Earth Sciences Division

In 1975, Larry married his "soulmate," Barbara Killian, originally from San Diego, CA, who also worked at the Lab. They celebrated their wedding in the beautiful setting of Bandelier National Park in New Mexico. Together they subsequently designed and built two beautiful homes with amazing views--one in White Rock, NM, and the other on the Sandia Mountain in Albuquerque, NM.

In 1976, Larry moved to New Mexico with Barbara, and transferred to the Los Alamos National Laboratory where his extensive knowledge and experience were leveraged in supporting a broad range of issues ranging from nuclear testing to geothermal energy and special projects for the laboratory director.

Upon retiring from the national laboratories in 1985, Larry continued for several years as a consultant with R and D Associates on contracts with the Defense Nuclear Agency.

In 1984, Larry published "A Diary of the Falklands Conflict" which was included in the book Military Lessons of the Falkland Islands War Views from the United States edited by Bruce W. Watson and Peter M. Dunn. Larry's involvement in this project was driven by his life-long interest in History.

He is survived by his wife, Barbara Germain Killian of Albuquerque, NM; former wife, Sally Germain Goldner of Danville, CA; son, Keith Germain (Julie) of Concord, CA; daughter, Nancy Germain of Danville, CA; grandchildren, Michelle Acu (Robert) of Noblesville, IN, Jackie Siino (Christopher) of Brentwood, CA, Brittany Germain of Fair Oaks, CA, and JL Yun of Riverside, CA; and great-grandchildren, Hailey Siino, Brayden Siino, and Madison Acu.

He was preceded in death by his daughter, Diane Germain of Seattle, WA.

Larry was known to his friends and family for his many mountain adventures. He traversed the entire John Muir Trail as a graduate student, and continued this High Sierra tradition through annual family back pack trips, B Division (Lab) treks and by leading high-light trips for the Sierra Club. He took up backpacking at the recommendation of his doctor as therapy for Polio which he contracted in high school. Larry had a particularly strong attraction to geology, geography and maps, and was considered by family members to be a state-of-the-art human GPS system.

Upon relocating to New Mexico, Larry and Barbara became avid art collectors and particularly enjoyed participating in auctions throughout the Southwest. Larry also shared a love of travel and adventure with Barbara. They traveled to many exotic locations including Antarctica, the Amazon Basin, Australia, the Galapagos Islands, Greenland, and New Zealand.

In 2000, Larry experienced a serious stroke which caused partial paralysis on the right side of his body, and outgoing aphasia. With his "can do" approach to life and Barbara's loving care, he embraced life and continued traveling and enjoying his friends, family and varied interests. Throughout all of his challenges, he retained his sharp wit and sense of humor for which he was famous.

The family is planning for a celebration of Larry's life in the near future.

Please visit our online guestbook for Larry at

Published in Albuquerque Journal on July 2, 2017
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