In Memoriam: Vern Shockley


by Dale Denham, CHP, and Ron Kathren, CHP

On 25 January 2013, Vern Shockley, our friend and colleague of more than 50 years, passed away at his home in Spokane, Washington. Vern was an exceedingly productive applied health physicist, known for his clear and practical solutions to complex technical and administrative problems and widely respected and held in high esteem by those with whom he worked. He began his professional career in health physics immediately after his graduation from Idaho State College in 1958, where he earned a degree in geology and was an outstanding lineman on the Bengals football team for three years. In his first health physics position, he provided radiation safety coverage for the Chemical Processing Plant and Materials Testing Reactor at the National Reactor Testing Station (now Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory), moving from there to a position as health and safety engineer with the University of California Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory at the Nevada Test Site. There he provided health physics and general safety supervision for underground nuclear testing operations before moving on to varied senior-level positions in the nuclear power industry, managing health physics and radiochemistry programs at both Consumer Power Company in Michigan and then the Washington Public Power Supply System, quickly gaining a reputation as a "go to" problem solver and a technical expert in operational health physics with special skills in radioactive waste management.