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Warren Heckrotte


1922 - 2019 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Warren Heckrotte Obituary
Warren Heckrotte

December 5, 1922- January 6, 2019

Warren Heckrotte was born in Ohio, Dec. 5, 1922. He received a Ph.D in physics from UC Berkeley and joined the senior staff at Cal's Radiation Laboratory. Over the next 4 decades, he worked on nuclear weapon issues at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. As a nuclear expert, he was recruited to negotiate nuclear arms reduction under five different administrations, from Kennedy to Clinton. Although the Atomic Energy Commission wanted to hire him, Heckrotte insisted on keeping his independence by remaining affiliated with a research institute rather than a government agency. This apolitical stance allowed him to be the only delegation member to work on arms reductions through so many different administrations. His responsibilities included writing treaty text and analyzing vetting systems for nuclear verification.

Heckrotte was an avid map collector and wrote about maps in various journals and catalogs. For him, maps showed not only how the world was conceptualized over time but how people understood their place in it. He bemoaned modern GPS systems as stopping people from making mental maps, an essential skill in feeling part of a place and moving through it.

Heckrotte was predeceased by his ex-wife, Marjorie Anderson, his two daughters, Peggy and Nancy, and his long-term partner, Maggie Gee, a fellow physicist at the Lawrence Livermore Labs, who flew with the Women's Airforce Service Pilots in WWII, receiving the Congressional Gold Medal in 2010.

Heckrotte is survived by his stepson, John Starrels of Chevy Chase, Maryland and his two grandchildren, Mia and Mickey Caro of Berkeley, California. A private memorial service will be held for family.

Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Jan. 13, 2019
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