Donald Liska
1929 - 2014
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Don Liska, 85, died at home after a brief illness with Alice, his wife of 59 years, by his side.
Born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Don received his Bachelor and Master Degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin. It was there that he met Alice. Don and Alice were avid members of the UofW Hoofers, an outdoor enthusiast club where they discovered their love of climbing and the outdoors. Don was drafted into the US Army immediately upon his graduation and served for 2 years.
Don began his career as an Engineer in Culver City, CA at Hughes Aircraft. They moved on to Seattle, WA to work at Boeing. During this time he and Alice lived in a trailer which had minimal indoor plumbing. This "temporary" living arrangement lasted for 10 years and is a testament to both Don and Alice's hardiness, sense of adventure and devotion to each other.
Don took a staff position at Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1966 and with Alice, immediately joined the Los Alamos Mountaineers. He became a well respected multifaceted engineer designing and building particle accelerators. His career led him to sabbaticals at Rutherford Laboratory in England and Cern in Geneva Switzerland. Don retired in 1993 after 27 years of service.
He loved New Mexico not only because of his rewarding career at the Lab but also because of its natural beauty and the outdoor adventures that were readily available to him. He was a member of the American Alpine Club for many years and became an honorary lifetime member of the Los Alamos Mountaineers about 10 years ago. He was one of the strongest and most active members with many first ascents to his credit. Both he and Alice were enthusiastic mountaineers, rock climbers, backpackers, down hill and cross country skiers, hikers, cyclists, and canoeists. Additionally Don was passionate about folk dancing, politics, world travel, US and world history, the environment and animals. He greeted everybody with a warm smile and always made you feel welcome and important.
Don once said, "When we think back on our lives, it's the exciting trips and outdoor adventures that stand out. Not the many days in the office." Don will be missed by his countless friends and acquaintances whose lives he has touched and influenced.
A celebration of Don's life and interment of his ashes at Santa Fe National Cemetery will both be announced at a later date in anticipation of warmer weather. Hopefully many of those who knew Don will participate. In lieu of flowers, consider a donation to your favorite environmental or animal rescue cause.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Los Alamos Monitor from Jan. 7 to Jan. 29, 2015.
Memories & Condolences
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18 entries
January 22, 2015
Hi Alice,
I'm so sorry to hear about Don. He was such a great, great guy. As you know, after LA Mountaineers I went on to college in Boulder and climbed all over the planet. But I always remembered "the big three" from Los Alamos: George Bell, Eiichi, and Don. I related to Don best because I ended up doing 5 big trips with Fred Beckey and spent many, many days with Eric Bjornstad, who always said tenting with Don was a blessing compared to tenting with Fred. At Fred's 86th birthday party in Seattle, I immediately sought out Don (not Fred, BTW). Anyway, I hope to talk to you soon. Best wishes and condolences. Cameron Buns
January 14, 2015
SuperDon brought CCA back to life--I would say almost singlehandedly if it weren't for your own contribution, Alice. You are both among the best people I've ever met, people I try to emulate, and I feel so lucky to have had great times with you and Don! My heart goes out to you.
Zoë Bird
January 14, 2015
Dear Alice, I am SO, SO sorry to hear of Don's passing. I am sending you many hugs from across the thousands of miles. Don was such a warm, loving and wonderful man - my very favorite on 'the wait list'... and I am hoping that you are doing okay. Please know that I am thinking of you. Love, Alexis
Alexis Strong
January 14, 2015
I only met Don briefly during his sabbatical at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in the UK - as most people seem to have found, he was a really great guy. There are others here (retired or part time consultants) who remember him fondly and I have passed the message on.
Bob Mannix
January 12, 2015
I'm so sorry to hear that Don is gone. I never met anyone warmer, kinder, or more enthusiastic. And what a wonderful folk dancer! I'll always remember him. My thoughts are with you, Alice.
Eileen Tallmadge Patterson
January 11, 2015
At Carl Keller's 70th
January 11, 2015
Alice, I'm sorry about your loss. Don was such a wonderful person. I will remember all the stories about his early life he would tell me, they were always fun to hear. It was so nice to see you guys at our wedding. My prayers are with you Alice.
Ashley Montoya
January 11, 2015
i really appreciated don's enthusiasm for the outdoors and enjoyed connecting with him in conversations over the years...healing to you alice...
Nicholas Brown
January 11, 2015
Always with a smile on his face and Alice in his heart! May you continue to smile Alice as you await the many more adventures ahead when you're reunited with Don on a beautiful, peaceful, paradise earth! How exciting! Look ahead with hope and look at the past with happiness knowing the love and bond you shared will soon be rekindled!
Antonia Clark
January 10, 2015
For Don, anything was possible.
Darryl Holm
January 10, 2015
Don was an explorer who went beyond. But as a friend he made you feel you were home.
Leslie Best
January 10, 2015
Don was always so welcoming at folk dancing. We will miss him.. Leah and don fineberg
January 9, 2015
I was lucky enough to count Don as one of the Los Alamos Mountaineers who taught me to climb. His exploits in places like the Wakhan Corridor fired my imagination. He will be missed.
Karl Horak
January 9, 2015
Leader, teacher, friend for 45 years. No one I would rather have on the end of my climbing rope.
January 9, 2015
Don in the Brazos Descent Gully.
January 8, 2015
Dons was an example to many and we will miss him.
Eugene Cantu
January 8, 2015
I remember Don during working days at LA. Enjoyed his mountion climbing slide shows. May God rest His Soul
Wilfred Romero
January 8, 2015
We've made a donation to the Sierra Club in Don's memory. Neither we nor our sons will ever forget his friendship and kindness to us and all other animals.
Dave, Jane, Shan & Eric Beckstead
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