James Alfred “Jim” Happe, resident of Livermore, died Feb. 9. He was 88.
Happe was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota to Mabel and Alfred Happe on Dec. 23, 1929. He attended Cretin High School, an all-boy Catholic school and met his future wife, Rosemary Reardon, at a dance with the corresponding all-girl Catholic high school, St. Joseph Academy.
Happe earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Minnesota. He went on to earn a master’s degree in physical/inorganic chemistry from Iowa State University and completed graduate studies at the University of Arkansas.
Happe and Rosemary were married in 1953 and initially lived in Iowa while James earned his master’s degree. In 1955, they moved to China Lake, California, where he worked as a chemist for the U.S. Naval Ordnance Test Station. In 1960, Happe started a successful career as a chemist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where he worked for more than 31 years.
Happe was an only child but made up for it by having nine children. He loved family camping trips and expeditions to the beach. He enjoyed watching several of his children swim with the Aqua Cowboys and eventually started swimming on the master’s team. When his youngest two children preferred soccer to swimming, he quickly went from spectator to coach to player.
Later in life, he was still incredibly active. He played soccer with LLNL’s lunch-time group until he was 84. He liked to golf regularly with his son, James. Happe also kept busy working on his 1966 Lotus Elan and 1965 Land Rover. He and his wife traveled often to Hawaii and the Cook Islands where he would hike, snorkel and body surf.
Happe is survived by his wife, Rosemary, and his children, Rita Brown (Pat), Lisa Werner (Ray), James Happe (Gwen), Susan Nowack (Jim), Tom Happe (Malena), Amy Dunlap and Daniel Happe. His fun-loving spirit also will be missed by his 17 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his sons, Steven and David, as well as his parents, Alfred and Mabel.
The family would like to thank the staff at Sunol Creek in Pleasanton, who helped provide love and care for him in his final years.
A rosary, memorial mass and a celebration of life was recently held. An online guestbook is available for condolences.