Alexander Zucker

August 1, 1924 ~ November 8, 2017 (age 93)


Alex Zucker arrived in this country, with his father Willy, mother Berta and younger sister
Eva, in the space between the Nazi invasion of Austria and the full horror of World War
II. Because his father was an Austrian citizen the family was permitted to enter
America. His grandparents perished in the holocaust. Alex was accepted into the
Stuyvecent Science High School in New York City. His summer jobs selling pots and
pans at Macy's and measuring lumber in Crossville TN convinced him that science was
a far better life choice for him, than business!
Alex served in the Untited States Army during WWII in the 807th. Tank Destroyers
Division of the Third Army, landing on Omaha Beach on D Day + 2. His unit fought in the
hedge rows and battled through France to liberate the city of Metz. His unit then
crossed the Rhine in the battle of the bulge.They were on leave preparing to invade
Japan when the bomb ended the war. He was deeply proud of his service to his new
country. He had great faith in the goodness of America.
After the war, with the help of the GI Bill he chose to attend the University of Vermont in
search of "coeducation and skiing". After leaving U of V he attended Yale University in
New Haven Connecticut, graduating with a Phd. In Physics. He joined the Electro
Nuclear Division of Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 1950, where he and his team
soon designed and built the Sixty Three Inch Cyclotron. He was well known around the
scientific world for his contributions to Nuclear Physics, making friends wherever he
traveled. With Fulbright and Guggenheim scholarships he spent a year at the
Rutherford Laboratory in England. For two years he served on the Environmental
Science Studies Board of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC.
became Division Director, Associate Director and acting ORNL Laboratory Director
before his retirement. He encouraged the development of the High Temperature
Materials Laboratory at ORNL He was instrumental in forging a tight and permanent
bond between ORNL and the University of Tennessee. In retirement he taught Physics
at UT and was delighted when his students voted him "teacher of the year". He had an
endless love of learning.
As a newly arrived citizen of Oak Ridge Alex jumped in, with many others of his stripe,
to promote the arts which are now an outstanding part of community culture. He was a
founding member of the Oak Ridge Art Center and one of its first presidents. He was an
ardent fan of classical music and an early member of the Oak Ridge Civic Music
Association. When attending an ORCMA " coffee" concert he met and fell in love with
his partner and wife of 64 years Joan-Ellen Jamieson. Together they later served as
ORCMA Presidents. He also contributed to the community in many service areas. He
was , for many years, a member of the morning Rotary. In 2007 he and Joan-Ellen were
jointly awarded the Governor Frank G. Clement Community Service Award for many
devoted years as alternating Board Members of Ridgeview Psychiatric Center.
Alex started his life with a small family but over the years it grew exponentially into a
band of multi cultural, multi aged admirers. His attitude towards new personal
adventures was " bring it on and we will make it normal" His heart and intellect were
perpetually open to his beloved children Becky,Claire and Susannah and their life
partners Bill, Steve and Jimmy, He adored his granddaughters Katherine and Danielle.
He cared deeply about his step son Dan, his partner Diane and his tribe of wonderful
offspring: Cyraea, Peter, Rebekah, Anna and Benjy; their mother Tere and their
children; Taylor, Grace, Dillon , Ashley Bobbie , Gus and Noah et al. He loved his
nieces Diana and Wendy and their children and his cousin John. He was devoted to
Joan-Ellen's brother and sisters Bill, Margot, Kathy, Fran and their children. He did not
just love them he was truly, actively interested in everything about them. He was a loyal
and devoted friend, as well. In his lifetime he had seven dogs with whom he took
serious daily walks. His light will continue to shine on those who loved and honored him.
There will be a memorial service at the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church on
Saturday November 25th. AT 1:00 PM. Instead of flowers please consider a gift in his
name to The Oak Ridge Arts Council. Oak Ridge Civic Music Association, United Jewish
Appeal or Global Giving
Online messages may be left for the family at
Services entrusted to Martin Oak Ridge Funeral Home

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