Roger A. Kopp

United States



Roger Alan Kopp, our beloved husband, dad, and grandpa, passed away in his home in Santa Fe on December 20, 2018. He is survived by his wife, Joyce; his three children, Greg, Lori, and Duane; and seven grandchildren. He is predeceased by his brother, Glen.

Roger was born on February 17, 1940, in Detroit, Michigan to Walter and Dena Kopp. The younger of two boys, he spent his formative years growing up in Detroit before beginning his college education at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Astronomy in 1961. He met and got engaged to Joyce just before finishing his undergraduate degree, married her in 1962, and continued his education at Harvard University where he earned a Doctorate degree in physics. He moved to Boulder, Colorado in 1968, where he worked for the High Altitude Observatory for 8 years. In 1976 he moved to Santa Fe, NM and he began work at the Los Alamos National Laboratories in the Inertial Confinement Program, developing nuclear fusion for long-term energy production. He retired from LANL in 2000, but continued working as a part-time professor of Astronomy at Fort Lewis College in Durango for several years.

Roger had an unending passion for travel and the outdoors. He was a pioneer of whitewater rafting, starting in the early 1970’s with his home-built equipment. He loved his cabin, which he designed and built himself in Colorado's Indian Peaks near Boulder. He spent several years living with his family in Germany and Italy, he treasured hiking and backpacking, and enjoyed piloting his Mooney airplane. He always had an affection for railroads, which he put into practice by building his own garden railroad at his and Joyce’s home in Durango, and by serving as a docent “Rail Ranger” on the Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge. His travel with Joyce included regular trips to the Bahamas and Greece, and they frequently visited their children and grandchildren. His passion of pursuing his hobbies has been passed on to his children.

Services will be held at the Hood Mortuary in Durango, Colorado, on January 3 at 10:00 AM.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital:

Past affiliation(s) within the IAU

  • Past Member of Division E Sun and Heliosphere (until 2018)
  • Past Member of Division G Stars and Stellar Physics (until 2018)
  • Past Member of Division J Galaxies and Cosmology (until 2018)

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