William E. "Bill" Deal, Jr. was born at Station Hospital, Fort Sam Houston, Texas on September 9, 1925 to Major William E. and Katie Lou Poovy (Peevey) Deal (1897–1965). William Sr. and Katie Lou were married September 7, 1920, in Catawba, North Carolina. Katie's parents were W. F. and Jane Poovey. William Sr. served in WWI, but was sent to Mexico in that war to deal with Pancho Villa. He also served in WWII. His older sister was Dr. Doris Eva Deal de Vendrell MD (1922–2005). In 1935, the family lived in Fort Clayton, C Zone, Panama Canal Zone.
Bill Jr. graduated in 1942 from Thomas Jefferson High School in San Antonio, Texas, at the age of 17. He was a standout student and an active participant in the ROTC program. He next enrolled in the University of Texas, however with WWII raging, he volunteered for the US Navy after his sophomore year. He was offered the opportunity to learn electronics. The Navy promoted him immediately when he went on active duty. Electronics training was done at Wright Junior College in Chicago, IL, Houston, TX and on Treasure Island in San Francisco. Following the end of the war, he volunteered for submarine duty and went to New London, Connecticut for training. He served aboard two submarines USS Trutta (SS 421) and the USS Tuna (SS 203). One cruise on the Tuna took him to Panama where he visited the home his family lived in while he was a boy. The Tuna continued on to the Pacific to provide support for the nuclear bomb test under Operation Crossroads.
Following discharge from the Navy, Bill, with the help of the GI Bill, was able to accelerate his studies and completed his BS in 1947, his masters in 1948 and his PhD in 1951. His master's thesis was entitled, A High-speed Spectrograph Employing Cathode-ray Presentation. He was supervised by Professor Malcolm Colby. Because of his wide knowledge of electronics, Bill needed little supervision for the design and construction of the equipment for his research. Even as an undergraduate, Bill had space in the basement of the Physics Building to carry out projects such as grinding a telescope mirror. His thesis was selected for an outstanding thesis award.
Following completion of his master's, Bill married Mary Viola McCoy on Aug. 27, 1949. Mary was an archival analyst at Bergstrom Air Force base, where they met.
Bill's dissertation was entitled, The Near Ultraviolet Absorption Spectra of a Group of Polynuclear Aromatics. This work was supervised by Professor Al Matsen who also was supervising Bill Robertson studies also. Professor Matsen was a theorist, fortunately both Deal and Robertson were quite proficient in the laboratory.
Bill and Mary, left Austin for Los Alamos, NM after he completed his oral exams in October of 1950. Both were employed by Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory. He was in the GMX-6 Division. His specialty was high density matter. Mary worked as a cyclotron operator. He was very active in the development high speed cameras for analyzing shock waves and fast compression studies. A fellow UT graduate and good friend, Mac Walsh, went to Los Alamos about the same time. For a number of summers, Professor Darrell Hughes came to Los Alamos to work in Bill's area. In 1972, Bill became group leader of M-Division. During his career at Los Alamos, he authored many publications and reports, despite the classified nature of some of his work. John Wheeler contacted him for information to be used in his book about the Los Alamos program.
Mary and Bill had four children, Becky, Kate Lou, Mary Anne and Bill.
Bill was made a Fellow of the American Physical Society and was recognized with an award for his many years as one of the organizers of many topical conferences on shock compression of condensed matter and other conferences associated with shock waves and dense matter. Much of this was done following his retirement from full-time work at Los Alamos.
After retiring, Bill earned an Executive Masters in Business Management from the University of New Mexico. He used these skills in assisting his wife in her very successful real estate business, and a housing develpment project in Los Alamos. He and Mary built a much need four-screen theater in Los Alamos.
Many thanks to Bill for helping with the information in this account of his career. (2017)
Next Sunday, Mary Brooks, William “Bill” Deal, Jr. and Roy N. Hopwood will be recognized and honored as the newest members of Living Treasures of Los Alamos (LTLA). The ceremony and reception, sponsored by Los Alamos National Bank, will begin at 2 p.m. at the Betty Ehart Senior Center. The public is invited to attend.
This annual event is an opportunity to celebrate the contributions of individuals who have so greatly enhanced life on the Hill. Friends, family and co-workers are encouraged to participate in the ceremony by sharing stories and remembrances about each new Treasure.
Living Treasures of Los Alamos pays tribute to seniors whose volunteer activities have made a notable difference in the quality of life for community residents. These remarkable individuals are role models and mentors, providing inspiration as they demonstrate commitment, perseverance, hope, heart and wisdom. Their contributions are wonderfully diverse but they share a common outlook, which is to live life to the fullest.
LTLA honors these people by sharing their life stories and acknowledging their contributions. More information about the Living Treasures program may be found at www.livingtreasureslosalamos.org.
William “Bill” Deal, Jr.
Bill Deal is a bright, energetic, inquisitive and charming man who has channeled much of that force into contributions that have built and enhanced Los Alamos County.
Deal spent his first nine years in San Antonio, Texas, then moved to Panama when his father— an Army sergeant— was assigned to Ft. Clayton.
He thoroughly enjoyed this “magnificent opportunity” to swim, play golf and fish to his heart’s content. The family returned to Texas and at 17, Deal started college at the University of Texas in Austin. He’d planned on becoming a chemical engineer, but after reading Sir James Jeans book on cosmology, he discovered his true passion was physics.
World War II was still raging, so two years into his studies, Deal volunteered for the Navy Electronics Technician Program.
He went into the navy service and eventually volunteered for submarine duty.
He happily describes sub training including time in a 120’ water-filled tower. “Some people might feel claustrophobic,” he said.
His sea duty was served on the USS Trutta (SS 421) and the USS Tuna (SS 203).
Deal adopted his father’s belief in education, and, once out of the service, he jumped on an educational fast-track completing his a bachelor’s degree in physics in 1948, his masters in 1949 and a doctorate in 1950 for a grand total of six years in college. Years later, he also earned an executive MBA at UNM.
Deal and his wife, Mary, were married in 1949 and moved to Los Alamos in 1950 when Deal joined Group GMX-6, which worked in shock wave physics and explosives science.
Over time he served as GMX Group Leader, Associate Division Leader and M Division Leader. Deal describes the 1960s and 1970s as “the golden era of the lab” when they “did so many things so well … we did more work in a month than you can get done in a year now.”
In 1979, Deal became Deputy Associate Director of Weapons with oversight of a $50 million dollar R&D program but “absolutely no authority.” He retired a year later.
Physics was only one of the hats Deal wore. In 1968, he began his career in business, helping Mary (Mary Deal Realty) in ways ranging from refrigerator deliveries to creating an early computer-generated spreadsheet for accounting.
And he is the father of four who today have 10 college degrees between them.
Over the years, he served on various boards and committees.
He was instrumental in the creation of East Park Pool and was a leader in the development of new housing for the young community when he served on the nonprofit Boards of Directors for both Pajarito Acres Development Association and Cliffside.
Then in 2002, Los Alamos lost the movie theater it had patronized since the 1950s. Deal and his daughters saw a perfect opportunity to restore a much-needed entertainment venue to the community as they considered how to utilize vacant property just north of the Mary Deal Building —land Mary purchased in 1972.
Though calculations suggested it wasn’t the ‘highest and best’ use of the land in terms of financial return on investment, it would certainly fill a significant community need. Despite numerous challenges and bureaucratic obstacles. Deal persisted and the Reel Deal Theater opened just before Christmas, 2003.
Despite community size, the theater is positioned for first run movies and just added 3-D capabilities.
Deal tells the story of someone asking if Mary was a “liberated woman” to which he replied, “No, she was never captured.” He lost his beloved Mary in 2008 and clearly misses her companionship. But, he said, “I believe in living until you die.”
He takes great pride and comfort in his family, enjoys his own cooking, his wine and his Jaguars.
Mary Deal Obituary from Los Alamos Monitor
By The Staff
Wednesday, February 27, 2008 at 10:00 pm
Mary Deal, a prominent Los Alamos Realtor, entrepreneur, community activist and visionary, died Tuesday of natural causes at Los Alamos Medical Center with her husband Bill Deal and daughters at her side. She was 82.
Mary Viola McCoy was born on April 23, 1925, in Crosbyton, Texas. She was raised in West Texas, just up the road from Merkel on the family’s modest cotton farm. Mary learned what hard work was from the beginning. The farmhouse she grew up in was built of rough-sawn barn planks with daylight streaming through the joints, had no indoor plumbing or electricity, and only an oil stove for heating and cooking. Mary, along with her mother, father, four brothers—Medford, Melvin, Minford and Merkel Jimmy – and sister Morelle, picked cotton until their fingers were raw and ran the farm. Mary once said, “If I never see a cotton boll again, it will be too soon.“We didn’t have much, but the food was good and plentiful, and we stayed warm under the quilts mother made and we were happy. We didn’t know anything else,” her youngest brother Merkel Jimmy said.
Mary wanted to get an education in order to get off the farm. Whenever she set her sights to accomplish something, she never gave up until she achieved her goals. Upon graduation from Draughon’s Business College and Trinity University, she went to work as an archival analyst for the federal government at Fort Sam Houston and Bergstrom Air Force Base in Austin, Texas. It was here in Austin where she met her future husband, Bill Deal, on a blind date. Eight months later, Aug. 27, 1949, they were married.
Three days after Bill Deal’s oral exams on October 13, 1950, they moved to Los Alamos, where Bill was employed at GMX-6 and Mary went to work as a Cyclotron operator for P-Division. Here in Los Alamos, Mary and Bill had their four children, Becky, Kate Lou, Mary Anne and Bill in 1953, 1955, 1957 and 1961.
In 1965, Bill Deal became group leader of GMX-6 and in 1972 he was appointed M-Division leader.
According to her family, Mary loved raising her kids and thoroughly enjoyed her years as a housewife. She was an excellent cook and seamstress. Her children remember her being very involved in their lives as their Brownies troop leader and “team mom” for whatever they were involved in. She also remained active in the community during her housewife years in many ways. She was on numerous county government committees, including the League of Women Voters and the Hospital Auxiliary. She was instrumental in the development of the East Park for open space, rather than a housing development. The park is still sometimes referred to as “Mary Deal Park. ”Mary’s art was expressed through flowers. She was very active in the local garden clubs. She was a national qualified flower show judge, participating in local, district, state and national levels. Many say her floral arrangements truly expressed her love and passion for life.
Mary was an instrumental member and volunteer salesperson of the nonprofit Pajarito Acres Development Association in the early 1960s. Having enjoyed this work so much, Mary decided she liked real estate, and so got her real estate license in 1965. She decided to open her own business, Mary Deal Realty, in 1966. Many of the women who went to work for Mary later opened their own brokerages.
Mary revolutionized the way women thought about themselves and their roles in Los Alamos, said Donna Littlejohn, one of Mary’s first associates.“I would not be where I am today if Mary hadn’t insisted that I take the Real Estate exam and go to work for her,” Littlejohn said. “Everything I know now in finance and business is because of Mary. She really was the benefactor for women here in Los Alamos. ”Mary had a gift for helping people to invest in their first home, when it often seemed impossible. Selling real estate was much more than a business for her. She was passionate and creative about helping people. She took a leading role in weaning Los Alamos off of government housing. She helped many people “trade up” over time ending up with great investments. “Mary was a pioneer in the real estate business and an investor with vision," said Bill Enloe, CEO of Los Alamos National Bank. "She worked with all types of people and she will be missed very much. ”Mary’s business accomplishments include being first president of the Los Alamos Board of Realtors, State President of the Real Estate Association of New Mexico (1986), Los Alamos’ Realtor of the Year and the State of New Mexico Realtor of the Year (1989). She was active also in the National Association of Realtors. In 2003,
Bill and Mary Deal built the Reel Deal Theater and dedicated it to the people of Los Alamos with this statement. “We commit this theater to the people of Los Alamos for their entertainment and thank them for their unwavering help and encouragement.”
Mary was preceded in death by her parents Luteenie McCoy Beck and J.A. McCoy, and brother Medford McCoy. Mary is survived by her beloved husband of 58 years, Bill Deal; daughter Rebecca and her husband Richard McAfee of Virginia; daughter Kate and her husband Jim O’Donnell of Los Alamos; daughter Mary Anne and her husband Tim Beard of Los Alamos; son Bill Deal (III) and wife Lisa of California; grandchildren: Mary Kate, Joey, Melissa and Jamie McAfee; Will, Maria and Ella O’Donnell; Ashley, Molly and Gary Beard; and Amanda and William Deal. She is also survived by sister Morelle Miller of Denton, Texas; brother Melvin McCoy of Sweetwater, Texas; Miniford McCoy of Tuttle, Okla.; Merkel Jimmy of St. Jo, Texas; and many nieces and nephews. Visitation will be from 3-6 p.m. Sunday at the Berardinelli Funeral Home. Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday at the United Church in Los Alamos.
William E. Deal Photo and Document Album