In Memoriam: John Arthur III


by Jan Johnson, CHP, and Mark Miller

John Arthur III died on 26 December 2006 of cancer in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the age of 53. John received his master's degree in radiation ecology from Colorado State University in 1977.

He had a distinguished 27-year career with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), managing operations in support of some of the largest environmental cleanup and nuclear materials management programs in the nation during his tenure there. In 2002, John was appointed to his most recent position, deputy director for Repository Development for the Yucca Mountain Project. Prior to that time, he was the manager of DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration Albuquerque Operations Office, providing oversight of two national laboratories and the nuclear weapons production complex. His other positions within the DOE included manager of the Waste Isolation Pilot Project (WIPP), manager of the Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action Project, and assistant manager for Environmental Operations and Services at the National Nuclear Security Administration Albuquerque Operations Office. He also served as the acting chief operating officer of the Office of Environmental Management at DOE headquarters in Washington, DC, and supported the DOE's Office of Science on special assignment to Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, New York.

He accepted some of the most environmentally, technologically, and politically challenging government assignments and led them with dignity and respect for the good of our country. His down-to-earth and positive approach to life was infectious to everyone he encountered. He was known for his compassion and friendship to all, no matter what station they held in life.

John's impact on the radiation-protection community and the nuclear industry is immeasurable. He conducted his work with great skill and integrity. He will be sorely missed by his family, friends, and colleagues. His death leaves a void in our profession that will be very difficult to fill.

John leaves Rita, his wife of 28 years. Rita and John met and were married during their years in Fort Collins at Colorado State University. He also leaves his mother Betty and children Stephanie and James Arthur. John was an avid hunter and traveler who loved the beauty of the west. He took great joy in sharing his experiences with family and friends. His countless friends and colleagues are grateful for having known him.