War­ren Heck­rotte

San Francisco Chronicle (Sunday) - - LIFETRIBUTES -

De­cem­ber 5, 1922- Jan­uary 6, 2019

War­ren Heck­rotte was born in Ohio, Dec. 5, 1922. He re­ceived a Ph.D in physics from UC Berke­ley and joined the se­nior staff at Cal’s Ra­di­a­tion Lab­o­ra­tory. Over the next 4 decades, he worked on nu­clear weapon is­sues at the Lawrence Liver­more Lab­o­ra­tory. As a nu­clear expert, he was re­cruited to ne­go­ti­ate nu­clear arms re­duc­tion un­der five dif­fer­ent ad­min­is­tra­tions, from Kennedy to Clin­ton. Although the Atomic En­ergy Com­mis­sion wanted to hire him, Heck­rotte in­sisted on keep­ing his in­de­pen­dence by re­main­ing af­fil­i­ated with a re­search in­sti­tute rather than a gov­ern­ment agency. This apo­lit­i­cal stance al­lowed him to be the only del­e­ga­tion mem­ber to work on arms re­duc­tions through so many dif­fer­ent ad­min­is­tra­tions. His re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in­cluded writ­ing treaty text and an­a­lyz­ing vet­ting sys­tems for nu­clear ver­i­fi­ca­tion.

Heck­rotte was an avid map col­lec­tor and wrote about maps in var­i­ous jour­nals and cat­a­logs. For him, maps showed not only how the world was con­cep­tu­al­ized over time but how people un­der­stood their place in it. He be­moaned mod­ern GPS sys­tems as stop­ping people from mak­ing men­tal maps, an es­sen­tial skill in feel­ing part of a place and mov­ing through it.

Heck­rotte was pre­de­ceased by his ex-wife, Mar­jorie An­der­son, his two daugh­ters, Peggy and Nancy, and his long-term part­ner, Mag­gie Gee, a fel­low physi­cist at the Lawrence Liver­more Labs, who flew with the Women’s Air­force Ser­vice Pi­lots in WWII, re­ceiv­ing the Con­gres­sional Gold Medal in 2010.

Heck­rotte is sur­vived by his step­son, John Star­rels of Chevy Chase, Mary­land and his two grand­chil­dren, Mia and Mickey Caro of Berke­ley, Cal­i­for­nia. A pri­vate me­mo­rial ser­vice will be held for fam­ily.

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