Annotated Obituary for Herman Porter Deinken
Herman Porter Deinken enlisted and served with distinction as a pilot in the Army Air Corps in WWII in the China/Burma/India Theater and continued to be active in the Air Force Reserve including service as commander of the 9831st Reserve Squadron; he retired with the rank of Colonel in 1979. His military awards and recognition include the Air, Asiatic Pacific Service, American Theater Services, WWII Victory, and Armed Forces Reserve Medals as well as the Presidential Unit Citation and Distinguished Unit Badge. How fitting that this veteran passed on a day devoted to remembering Pearl Harbor and the brave men and women who rose to the challenge of fighting for freedom. He received numerous awards, including a certificate of appreciation from the Department of the Army for patriotic civilian service. He had a special talent for helping to groom military professionals to work effectively with civilian scientists on defense-related programs.
Dr. Herman P. Deinken, 90, died peacefully at home in Albuquerque on Monday, December 7, 2009 surrounded by loved ones. Born on April 9, 1919 near Amistad, NM, Herman grew up on the Hattie Pearl and Joseph C. Deinken homestead in Union County. His father, Joseph Clements “Joe” Deinken (1881–1965), was the son of Anton Bernard Deinken and Miss Catherina Sidler. Joseph was a pioneer of Union County, NM. He came to Union County, NM in 1907 with his mother, two sisters and two brothers. His mother, Hattie Pearl Craig Deinken, was born on July 18, 1886 at Springfield, Missouri to Franklin Porter Craig and Alice Lovelace. She died on September 14, 1963 at the Coon Memorial Rest Home in Dalhart, Texas. She married Herman’s father, Joseph C. Deinkin, on March 19, 1908 at Clayton, Union County, New Mexico. Joseph and Hattie had four children, left to right, in 1942 photo: Ida Mae, Herman Porter, Albert J., Katie, Hattie and Joseph.
Herman obtained a degree in Agriculture/Animal Husbandry from Texas Tech. He enlisted in the army on March 19, 1942. in Lubbock, TX. He did cadet training at Fred Harman Training Center, Bruce Field, Ballinger, Texas. We see at right a cadet picture and below a picture with his father in 1946. After the war, Herman returned to the U. but was not demobilized immediately in order to ferry new aircraft to various destinations around the country. He was stationed for a time at Love Field in Dallas, where he reconnected with Elizabeth Fonda MacWilliams (Betty). They had met at the First Presbyterian Church in Lubbock before the war. They were married on April 13, 1946, in Tyler, TX.
Motivated by a new perspective on the world and inspired by the challenges he faced as a pilot during the war, he plotted a new flight path and decided to pursue a career in the sciences instead of working in agriculture. Betty accompanied him as he returned to study and they began to realize their dream of having a large family, even while living in a cramped married student housing apartment. He obtained his MA in 1952 in physics from the University of Texas with a thesis entitled, The Allotropic Transformations of Vitreous Selenium. He remained at Texas to work on his PhD. During this time also worked by Electro-Mechanical Co., a firm started by UT graduate Fred Morris. In 1956, he earned a PhD in experimental acoustics under the supervision of Professor Robert Watson. The dissertation was entitled, The Effect of Humidity on the Absorption of Sound in Air. Following graduation he accepted a position at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory (now LANL).
Herman remained in the reserve, rising to the rank of colonel.
Herman worked at "The Lab" from 1956 until his retirement in 1982, where he continued to serve his country in defense research and development. For many years he managed a group that coordinated closely with members of the armed services on joint programs. Dr. Deinken is survived by his wife of 63 years, Elizabeth MacWilliams Deinken (whom he affectionately called Betsy); and his children, John Deinken and wife, Noelle (Mammoth Lakes, CA), Anna Lucas and husband, Beau (Dallas, TX), Jane Northcutt and husband, Randy (Shreveport, LA), Peter Deinken and wife, Dulce (Dallas, TX) and Margaret Nickel and husband, Curtis (Fresno, CA). Herman was the proud grandparent to ten grandchildren and loved family gatherings and travel. He and his wife Betty were avid travelers early in retirement and they had notable trips to Alaska, Europe, China, Israel and Honduras. Herman became interested in genealogy and—with his typical meticulous attention to detail—made multiple trips to Salt Lake City to research historic civil and church records in pursuit of details on his ancestors from Germany and Switzerland. Although he left behind the family farming and ranching business, he never forgot his roots and he planted many shade and fruit trees and an extensive vegetable garden. After some experimentation and tweaking, his delicious whole wheat bread recipe was widely shared —baking Herman's bread has warmed the hearth of many homes over the years.
Herman was active in community affairs and made contributions as president of the PTA of Aspen Elementary School in Los Alamos, as well as work with the Girl and Boy Scouts and service on the board and as President of the United Way. He was active on many boards of the United Church of Los Alamos.
After moving to the La Vida Llena Lifecare Community (LVL) in Albuquerque, he frequently made the rounds at assisted living and healthcare where he visited and comforted those experiencing health problems.
Obituary for Elizabeth F. M. (Betty) Deinken
Elizabeth F. M. (Betty) Deinken, 93, died in Albuquerque on June 21, 2013, with family by her side. She was born the daughter of John MacWilliams and Anna Fonda Gribble at Fort Bliss, TX, and lived in a variety of Army posts in the U.S. and overseas where her father was assigned as an Army chaplain. She began her higher education at the Schreiner Institute in Kerrville, TX, subsequently attended the University of Hawaii in Honolulu, and graduated in 1941 from Huntingdon College in Alabama, with a major in English and a minor in Spanish. After earning her degree she worked as an organist and high school youth director at First Presbyterian Church of Lubbock, TX. Betty married Army Lt. Garland A. Sadler in late 1943. In early 1944, he shipped out with his unit to the European theater. Tragically, he was killed in action in France and never returned home.
Following the war, Betty reconnected with Capt. Herman P. Deinken whom she had met in a young adult group at the church in Lubbock. They married in 1946 and, after two children, moved to Austin, TX. There Herman pursued a PhD in physics and Betty typed and edited his master’s and doctoral theses, and began raising their children—soon a brood of five—in married student housing. When Herman joined the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory in 1956, Betty and Herman bought a station wagon and moved the family to New Mexico’s Jemez Mountains where they enjoyed not only the beautiful scenery but a rich outdoor as well as community life, for nearly forty years.
Betty was an avid reader, with wide ranging interests including history, literature, religion, and science, and was a great hand at crafts and needlework. Along with feeding and clothing her five children, she read and sang and introduced them to her interests in art, music, and an appreciation of travel and other cultures. Blessed with a gentle sense of humor and a knack for committing verse to memory, Betty had a quip, a song, a proverb, or a rhyme for every occasion. To her grandchildren, who knew her as Betsy, she was an artist, a baker, a hugger, and a master storyteller who had lived to see and remember great changes in the world around her. Her handiwork, her jokes, and her memory endure.
Betty and Herman opened a new chapter when they joined the La Vida Llena Lifecare Community in 1994. They continued to travel near and far but gradually settled in to a very comfortable retirement. Her beloved husband of 63 years preceded her in death in 2009. Betty is survived by her five children and their spouses: John and Noelle Deinken (Mammoth Lakes, CA), Anna and Beau Lucas (Dallas, TX), Jane Deinken (College Station, TX), Peter and Dulce Deinken (Dallas, TX), Margaret and Curtis Nickel (Fresno, CA). She felt very proud of, and blessed by, her ten grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Betty was also deeply grateful for gracious and loving care provided by Sheila Lynn and Cecilia Baldwin, the nurses and aides and wonderful staff at LVL, and, especially her four-footed friend, Andy.
A memorial service will be held August 2nd at the Sandia Presbyterian Church in Albuquerque, followed by commitment at the Santa Fe National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial donations be made to La Vida Llena (note in memo: The Full Life Foundation), 10501 Lagrima de Oro NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87111.
Deinken Photo Album