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WHITFIELD, WILLIS JAMES Passed away on Monday, November 12, 2012. Willis was born on December 6, 1919, in Rosedale, OK. His parents moved to Texas where he grew up. His parents were Ray and Margie Whitfield. Willis is survived by his wife, Belva; and sons, Joe Ray and wife, Joy of Portland, OR, and James Donald of Albuquerque; brother, Lawrence Whitfield; and sister, Amy Blackburn, of Dallas, TX. Willis graduated from Eola High School in 1937 and completed a 2-year college course in Electronics at Brantley-Draughans College. Willis met Belva Gene Wiggins at Hardin-Simmons University while they were both in school. They were married on 9-3-1949. Both sons are engineers. Willis graduated from Hardin-Simmons University in 1952 with a BS Degree in Physics and Mathematics. He attended George Washington University in Washington, D C and UNM. He was in the U.S. Navy, 6-27-1944 to 6-13-1946. He served at Naval Training Center, Great Lakes, IL and US Naval Proving Ground at Dahlgren, VA. He was a Specialist for Aircraft Experimental Electrical Systems at the Naval Proving Grounds at Dahlgren, VA. He had numerous jobs. They included owning and operating an electrical contracting business in San Angelo, TX from 1940-1941. He was employed by U.S. Signal Corps, NY City from 1942-1944 where he was a Ground Radar Crew Chief. He worked at the Research and Development Department of the Naval Research Lab in Maryland from 1952-1954 where he supervised research on Solid Rocket Fuels and Motors. He was employed by Sandia National Labs from 1954-1984. From 1954-1957 he was supervisor of Nuclear Surveillance in which he researched oxidation properties and storage characteristics of uranium isotopes. From 1957-1966, he was Project Leader for Advanced Development Studies of Microwave Propagation Measurements, Contamination Control and Clean Room Development. From 1966-1976, he was Division Supervisor of Applied Sciences Division in which he conducted research for the NASA Manned Space Programs, provided designs for Contamination Control Facilities and Spacecraft Assembly Procedures. From 1977-1984, he was Division Supervisor of Isotopic Sources and Hot Cell Applications Division and was responsible for design, construction and operation of a Hot Cell Laboratory and Glove Box Laboratory for assembly and disassembly of experiments containing nuclear materials and for operation of a Gamma Irradiation Facility. He published 47 papers on the above topics. He holds three U.S. Patents in his name. They were for the invention of the Utra Clean Room in 1964 and Laminar Flow Air Hood Apparatus in 1966 and Solids Irradiator in 1979. Many awards and honors have been bestowed upon him. Among them were: The Individual Scientific Technical Achievement Award by the American Association for Contamination Control. The Holley Medal which was awarded for the unique concept of the laminar flow clean room principle to eliminate airborne contamination in closed spaces. The application of the new concept created a new multi trillion-dollar industry, greatly assisting the national program and permitted important advances in Electronics and Microbiological control of medicine and pharmaceuticals. In receiving this award, he was included in the company of such people as Henry Ford for the automobile, Edwin Land for the Polaroid Land Camera, William Schockley for the invention of the transistor, Elmer Sperry for the gyroscope, Harold Edgerton for the Stroboscope and many others. The Holley Medal was awarded by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Invention of the Laminar Flow Clean Room Award by the Eurocontamination Control Foundation in Stuttgart, Germany. The Contamination Control Devices are at work today in the electronic, pharmaceutical, foodstuff and chemical industries, as well as in nuclear, aviation and aerospace technology. Hardin Simmons University honored him as a NM Ex Student for Distinguished Service, Honorary Doctor of Science Degree from Hardin-Simmons University in 1970 and Induction into the Hall of Leaders. Best Paper Award given in recognition of the best IES technical paper in the area of Contamination Control by the Institute Of Environmental Sciences. Clean Room Magazine Hall of Fame (Willis was the first person to be placed in the Clean Room Hall of Fame.) New Mexico Society of Professional Engineers Outstanding Contribution to Economic Development. Scottish Society of Contamination Control. Recognition of Outstanding Pioneering Discoveries in Clean Room Technology SANDIA LABS Date: 2006. A Statute of Willis was placed in the Courtyard of the Microsystems and Engineering Science Applications Laboratory (MESA) at Sandia Labs. 2008. Willis continued to consult with all who would call him. After thirty years with Sandia Labs, Willis retired in 1984. Willis was active in the Hoffmantown Baptist Church of Albuquerque where he has served in many capacities. Some of which were Department Superintendent, Teacher of Sunday School boys, Chairman of Teacher Training, Deacon and Deacon chairman, Chairman of personnel, church photographer, and leader with the Boy Scouts. Funeral services will be held Friday, November 16, 2012, 1:00 p.m. at FRENCH - Wyoming. In lieu of flowers, please contribute to the Noon Day Ministry for the Homeless, P.O. Box 25451, Albuquerque, NM 87125. Please visit our online guestbook for Mr. Whitfield at www.FrenchFunerals.com FRENCH 7121 Wyoming Blvd. NE (505) 823-9400
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