Edwin “Ed” Max Kinderman, age 101, passed away peacefully early on the evening of Thursday, April 5, 2018, at his home, with family by his side.
Born August 21, 1916, in Cincinnati, Ohio, he was a son of the late Vivien Monce Kinderman and Frank Max Kinderman.
Ed grew up in Dayton, Cleveland and Rocky River, Ohio. He graduated from Rocky River High School in 1933, then traveled 30 miles West to attend Oberlin College where he proudly majored in “girls and intramural sports.” He graduated in 1937 at age 20.
Despite an undistinguished undergraduate record, he was admitted to graduate school at Notre Dame University, where he received his PhD in Physical Chemistry in 1941. He was then hired to teach chemistry at the University of Portland in Oregon.
In 1942, he married Jean Marguerite Rothchild, of Portland. They met on a blind date to see the Ringling Brothers Circus in Indianapolis, Indiana, while he was at Notre Dame and she was an undergraduate at St. Mary of the Woods College. Their first child, Gibbs, was born January 1943; their second, Frederic, lived just one day. Their other children are Albert John, Mary Marguerite and Joel Frank.
World War II interrupted Ed’s academic career. He worked briefly at the Kaiser shipyard in Vancouver, Washington, helping to build Liberty Ships, but his main wartime work was as a chemist with the Manhattan Project, which was developing the atomic bomb. This assignment led him to the University of California Radiation Lab in Berkeley, to the uranium separation plant in Oak Ridge Tennessee, and then back to Berkeley.
Ed resumed teaching at University of Portland from 1945 until 1949, when he went to work for General Electric, at the Hanford Atomic Works (a facility of the Atomic Energy Commission) in Richland, Washington. He conducted research relating to the facility’s primary purpose– producing plutonium for nuclear bombs. He remained at Hanford until 1956, when he left for the physical chemistry department of Stanford Research Institute (now known as SRI International) in Menlo Park, California. He remained at SRI for more than 40 years until his eventual retirement when he was in his mid-80s.
After “retiring,” he worked actively for another 10 years with collaborator Hew Crane on his first and only book, A CUBIC MILE OF OIL, published by The Oxford University Press in 2010, when Ed was 93. A survey of US energy policy, the book began as a series of in-house memos written by Ed and Hew for their SRI colleagues; they completed the book with the assistance of Ripudaman Malhotra. Beyond his long and distinguished research career, Ed was involved in volunteer pursuits to promote education and civil rights throughout his life– a passion passed down to his children and grandchildren.
Ed enjoyed good health for several more years, although he gave up driving on his 95th birthday. His entire family gathered at his Palo Alto home for a joyous celebration of his 99th birthday in August, 2015. After he turned 100, Ed’s health began to decline; by early 2018 he was bedfast.
Ed was preceded in death by his wife, Jean; and son, Frederic.
He is survived by his daughter, Mary Smith, and husband, Laury, of Cupertino California; sons Gibbs, and wife, Cheryl, of Willow Bend, Albert, of Northridge, California, and Joel, and wife, Alison, of Sunnyvale, California; 13 grandchildren; and 17 great-grandchildren.
His Pocahontas descendents include, granddaugh- ters, Joanna Burt-Kinderman, and husband, Josh, and Sarah Riley, and husband, Joe, and their children Kayla, James, Silas and Hazel Riley and Ramona and Willa Hardy. He is also mourned by his long-time friend and mother of his granddaughters, Susan Burt.
In lieu of a formal service of remembrance, the family will celebrate the 102nd anniversary of his birth on Father’s Day at his home in Palo Alto, California.