Ronald Hafner died May 6. He was 74.
Hafner was born in Baltimore on Nov. 20, 1945. His family moved to San Francisco and he graduated from Alameda High School in 1962. After a stint in the Air Force, he went to work at Sandia National Laboratory where he met his wife Judy. After 10 years at Sandia, he went to work for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory where he worked for the rest of his career. He became well-known for his in-depth knowledge of tritium. He readily assisted those with out-of-the-ordinary questions about tritium, earning him the moniker ‘Mr. Tritium’. He retired from LLNL in October 2007. He continued to work as a visiting scientist.
Hafner volunteered as a cooperative weather observer for the National Weather Service for more than 30 years. Early in his career at Sandia, he noticed that his experimental results were different depending on the weather the night before. So, he began regularly calling an official local weather observer to obtain the specific local weather data. When this weather observer retired, he was invited to carry on and he established an official National Weather Service station in his back yard. Each day he recorded the temperature and rainfall amounts at 6 p.m. and before computers, mailed in a report once a week. Once computers were available, he uploaded the data once a month.
He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Judy Hafner, Livermore, and their son and daughter-in-law, Christopher and Amanda Hafner, Auburn, Washington.