Bob, Ocate, New Mexico, July 2011

Bob Krakowski, a member of SOBs for several years has died. Bob devoted his later years to the care of his son with some disabilities. One of his personal pleasures during this time was riding his bike, which served as a “getaway.”. It was a touring model and with the storage rack over the rear wheel, he carried a large enough pack to carry enough equipment to handle any weather condition and  emergency. Bob rode 50, 75, 100 miles EVERY day winter and summer, fall and spring. I drove him to White Rock for the Los Alamos Loop ride. After the ride, Bob rode his bike all the way home to Santa Fe. To ride the Cochiti Loop ride, I gave Bob a lift. But he rode all the way home after the ride. And one time, one of those very windy days of 25+ winds from the Southwest, Bob rode to Cochiti, rode the loop, and then all the way back home. “It was a fantastic tailwind,” Bob said afterward. “I cruised back to Santa Fe doing above 15 mph the whole way!” When we rode to Las Vegas, Bob rode on the shoulder of I-25 while the rest of us rode the old highway alongside the interstate. Sometimes Bob would be ahead, and sometimes Bob would be behind us. When we got to the junction just south of the town, Bob was right there. Bob had a woman friend living in Las Vegas who joined us all for dinner that evening. She was working as the interior designer for the remodel of the Plaza Hotel where we were staying. The hotel had just acquired the building next door and she was supervising the work to join the two buildings together. The original building’s remodel had just been completed. She told us of the many challenges she faced to remodel a building already 125 years old. Many SOB members worked at the Los Alamos Laboratory with Bob. Bob was eager to champion small nuclear power generating systems. These systems were also supported by another SOB nuclear physicist, Dick Roth. These systems may yet be on the horizon.

Robert A. Krakowski, age 83 and longtime resident of Santa Fe, NM, died on July 16, 2021 due to complications from Parkinson’s Disease. Born October 13, 1938, in Ohio, Bob received a BS in Chemical Engineering from The Ohio State University and a PhD in Nuclear Engineering from the University of California. He began his career working on nuclear material problems at the Euratom Center of Research in Ispra, Italy and taught Nuclear Engineering at The Ohio State University. From there, he moved with his family to join the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in 1972 to work on material problems associated with space nuclear power and headed a Magnetic Fusion Systems Study Group at LANL responsible for alternative fusion concepts. Throughout his 40+ year career, he championed compact, high-power-density magnetic fusion power cores as a route to economically competitive electricity generation. Later in his career, he participated in international alternative energy research at the Paul Scherrer Institute in Villingen, Switzerland.
In his personal life he was a lifelong advocate for the disabled, supporting the Santa Fe ARC and Santa Fe, Los Alamos, and New Mexico Special Olympics. He actively advocated for his son Nels’ development from the start, championing educational and deve- lopmental support not only for Nels but for the greater Santa Fe and Los Alamos communities. As Nels reached adulthood, Bob facilitated his artistic development, organizing art showings locally in Santa Fe and Los Alamos, much to his family’s appreciation. Bob loved music, teaching himself many instruments from classical guitar to flute, an affinity he shared with his daughter Christiana, to trumpet, playing in Santa Fe bands in later years. Bob was also a lifelong adventurer. From taking his children throughout their youth on cross-country trips and even overseas to live in the United Kingdom to hiking the Pecos Wilderness, cross country skiing, and cycling in later years, he loved the outdoors.
Bob is survived by his son, Nels and his daughters, Christiana and Alix and their families.
In lieu of flowers or cards, please send donations to Los Alamos Special Olympics, New Mexico Special Olympics, or Las Cumbres Community Services. The family intends to host a Celebration of Life in Santa Fe in the Fall.
Submitted by Bill Pollock

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