Orval Jones

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Jones, Orval E.

Orval E. Jones passed away Saturday, February 25, 2017 with his family by his side. He is survived by his wife, Pauline, of 62 years; his daughters, Carol Adkins and her husband, Doug, and Sharon Jones; son, Larry Jones and his wife, Anne. Orval has six grandchildren of whom he was so proud, Emily and Jeremy Adkins, Sarah and Mark Blair and Andrew and Rachel Jones. He has a brother, Don Jones in Pueblo, CO; and a brother-in-law, Harold Lunka and his wife, Georgia Lee in Broomfield, CO.

Orval Jones received his BSME in 1956 from Colorado A&M College (Colorado State University), where he was a Boettcher Scholar. There he met and married Pauline Lunka in 1954. At the California Institute of Technology, Orval obtained his MSME in 1957 and his PhD in mechanical engineering and physics in 1961. He was a National Science Foundation Fellow and a Howard Hughes Fellow.

In 1961 Orval joined Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, NM as a member of technical staff, where he conducted research on the electrical and mechanical responses of solids to shock waves produced by either high-velocity impact or explosive detonation. He became Director of Solid-State Sciences in 1971. He then moved into program development and execution as Director of Nuclear Waste and Environmental Programs.

In 1978, Orval returned to research as Director of Engineering Sciences. In 1982 he became Vice President for Technical Support and in 1983, Vice President for Defense Programs, where he was responsible for development programs involving nuclear weapon systems, physical security and safeguards, satellite nuclear-burst reporting systems, and advanced conventional weapons. In 1986, he was named Executive Vice President, with overall responsibility for research, exploratory technology, and design and development programs at Sandia's Albuquerque and California sites. At the time of his retirement in September 1993, Orval was recognized by Secretary of Energy Hazel O'Leary with the DOE Distinguished Associate Award for his "…distinguished and unique contribution to nuclear weapon safety and security and for his outstanding leadership and unique contributions to nuclear weapon safety and security and for his outstanding leadership in establishing programs of utmost importance to the security and economic well-being of the United States."

Orval was a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and a member of the American Physical Society, Sigma Xi and Phi Kappa Phi. Colorado State University awarded him its 1982 Engineering Alumni Individual Achievement Award.

During their retirement, Pauline and Orval enjoyed looking after their grandchildren during their parents' workweeks, do arithmetic and teaching them to read, using McGuffey's Eclectic Readers. Orval built a French double-manual harpsichord and various pieces of furniture. He built a cabin in northern New Mexico and continued to enjoy time in the mountains. He and Pauline enjoyed traveling and visited most of our National Parks with their travel trailer. He loved classical music and attended concerts and operas. He became proficient in the Spanish language.

A Memorial Service will be held on Monday, March 13, 2017, 10:30 a.m. at The Cathedral Church of St. John, 318 Silver SW, Albuquerque, NM. A Reception will follow. In lieu of flowers, the family requests a donation be made to the Cathedral Church of St. John, The Albuquerque Philharmonic Orchestra, Albuquerque Philharmonic Orchestra, P.O. Box 36893 Albuquerque, NM 87176, or in Orval's name. Please visit our online guest book for Orval at


Published in Albuquerque Journal from Mar. 8 to Mar. 12, 2017