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Wolfgang E. Elston


1928 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Wolfgang E. Elston Obituary
Elston, Wolfgang E.



Born August 13, 1928 in Berlin, Germany and died February 29, 2016 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. After a lengthy period of ill health, Wolf died peacefully at home with his son, daughter in law, and caregiver, Ruth at his side.

In 1939 the Elston family fled Nazi Germany. His parents settled in New York City. The start of WWII prevented Wolf and his brother Gerhard from leaving the UK, where they spent 1939 to 1945.

Women social workers and teachers established the Stoughtley Rough School for refugee children in Surrey on an estate donated by a wealthy Quaker family. Wolf, Gerhard and cousin, Peter studied, worked and even farmed at this school for most to the war years. Wolf lived with a small group of boys in a WWI barrack known as "The Hut". "The Hut Boys" built friendships which developed into a family. This love and friendship extends into today with calls, letters and reunions.

Wolf immigrated to the United States in 1945. He received a degree in Geology from the City College of New York and ultimately a Phd in Geology from Columbia University. His thesis research brought him to southwestern New Mexico in 1950, mapping for the State of New Mexico. He, of course, fell in love with New Mexico.

After Serving in the US Army and two years teaching Geology at Texas Tech University, Wolf and his wife Lorraine moved to Albuquerque in 1957, where Wolf began a nearly 60 year career teaching Geology at the University of New Mexico. Wolf and Loraine raised their family in New Mexico.

Wolf had wide ranging research interests, teaching and performing research in mining geology, and volcanology. He was a pioneer in planetary geology starting research projects in 1963. Wolf was happiest when doing field research which took him to New Mexico, Hawaii, New Zeeland, Australia, and southern Africa. Wolf held officer positons in the New Mexico Geological Society and the Albuquerque Geological Society. He presented at numerous conferences and published papers on a wide range of geological subjects. He continued his research and advising of students following his formal retirement from UNM in 1993. During his tenure with UNM he mentored many students, many of whom went on to become Geology professors and researchers.

Wolf was preceded in death by his parents, Fredrich and Anne; wife, Lorraine; and son, Richard.

He is survived by son, Stephen and wife Marion (Seattle); his daughter in law, Elizabeth and much loved grandson, Joseph Elston (Gainesville, Florida); along with the many friends, colleagues and a host of former students.

Grateful to this country for his citizenship, he donated time and money to the cause of refugees and lectured on the Holocaust and the evils of intolerance to adults and schoolchildren. Often introducing himself as 'The Big Bad Wolf', he will be long remembered for his wit, generosity, great sense of humor, awful limericks, and bad driving. He watched almost 10 minutes of his first Super Bowl in 2016, or perhaps he was napping in front of the TV.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to a humanitarian or animal cause close to your heart.

A memorial service will be held April 30 at 11 A.M. in the University of New Mexico Alumni Chapel on the UNM campus, with a reception to follow at the UNM faculty club Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Published in Albuquerque Journal on Apr. 24, 2016
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