Roberto "Bobby" Villarreal (1936 - 2018)

5 entries | 2 photos
  • "I am Robin Villarreal. I am Bob's oldest child. I just..."
    - Robin Villarreal
  • "I am so pleased to have had to opportunity to meet both Bob..."
    - Mary Beugelsdijk (MaryB)
  • "Bob was a beautiful person. We loved his homilies where he..."
    - Art and Anne Nobile
  • "Roberta and family, please accept condolences from Bev and..."
    - Hal Frost
  • "I got to know Bob when we served on the Citizen's Advisory..."
    - gerald maestas
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Roberto Villarreal
(Bobby Villarreal)
1936 - 2018
Bob Villarreal was a lover. He loved his God, his family, his church, his friends. He loved life.
He looked for any excuse to get outside, be it hunting, basketball coach, baseball, camping, fishing, backpacking, or river running. He played Bridge furiously, and read continuously. He taught the first wine-making class in Idaho Falls, Idaho. He organized bringing several tons of grapes into town and a day was spent crushing everyone's grapes with one small crusher. A slow process, so the time was passed in sampling the previous year's products, and a good time was had by all.
Bob was born in the tiny town of Gila, New Mexico. He graduated from Cliff High School – the graduating class of 9 boys. He put himself through college and graduated from New Mexico State University in 1959 with a BS Degree in Chemistry. He then spent three years in the Army. During that period, he met and married his wife, Roberta. They were married almost 58 years and had four children, Robin, Rosellen (Fred Price), Michael, and Matthew (Hillary). They now have four of the most extraordinary grandchildren the world has ever seen. (As do all grandparents.)
Upon discharge from the Army, Bob started working for Argonne National Laboratory West, in Idaho Falls, Idaho in 1962, as a Research and Experimental Chemist and Nuclear Reactor Operator. During his time there, he acquired an advanced degree in Chemistry through the University of Idaho. He worked at Argonne for 29 years, reaching the level of Analytical Laboratory Manager, until retirement.
He then came to Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1991 and worked there as a Section Leader and Team Leader and continued to work as a Nuclear, Analytical, Instrumental and Radiochemist until his retirement in 2008, after which he continued for a period as a guest scientist.
Bob had an extensive list of over 100 technical reports and publications. He received numerous achievement awards for innovative performance, including the Director's Distinguished Performance Award for an Individual from both Argonne National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory, and was honored with the DOE Analytical Laboratory Manager's Hall of Fame Award.
In December of 1996, Bob fulfilled a dream to be ordained as a deacon in the Roman Catholic Church for the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. He served at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish and loved working with people of the Los Alamos community and surrounding areas. A priest commented to Roberta, in some surprise, "the people love him, so." She replied, "Of course they do, he loves them." He was known for his thought provoking homilies that included stories from when he was growing up in the Gila Country. His stories were noted both for their entertainment value as well as their length (they were a little long.)
In 1977, he became a key participant in the research of the Shroud of Turin. Using his skills in analytical chemistry and research, he became internationally known as a speaker and researcher in the study of the Shroud. One of his greatest achievements was helping to indicate the seeming inconsistency of the carbon dating of the Shroud, with the cloth, when it was determined the sample of the threads tested came from patches sewn into the shroud after a fire had damaged the cloth. Those samples tested were found to be not from the actual burial cloth. He had a strong passion for his work with the Shroud and spent many hours tying the cloth to the Gospels.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Julian and Clara Villarreal, one brother Guillermo who died as a child, and grandchild Steven who died at birth. He is survived by this wife, four children, five grandchildren, two brothers, Julian (Patricia) and Steve (Jonnye) along with numerous nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.
A Rosary Vigil will be held on Thursday, March 15, at 7 pm at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Los Alamos. The funeral will be held at IHM on Friday, March 16 at 10am. Interment will follow at Guaje Pines Cemetery in Los Alamos, followed by a reception luncheon at the IHM Parish Hall.
In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations be made to or the Immaculate Heart of Mary Christian Concerns Committee.
Published in Los Alamos Monitor on Mar. 16, 2018
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