Thomas A. Sandford


obit-sandford-t-2Thomas A. Sandford, age 79, died Sept. 24 in Albuquerque after an extended fight with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

He was born and raised on a farm near Milford, Mich., and his early education took place in a one-room schoolhouse. He obtained a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in applied mechanics from Michigan State University. He worked his entire professional career, beginning in 1960, as an engineer and manager at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the nuclear weapons and non-proliferation programs. Prior to retiring from LANL in July 1996, he was the project leader of the Proliferation Information Network System (PINS). This system was used in the U.S. nuclear nonproliferation export control program, and he assisted in the transfer of this technology to staff at the Kerchatov Institute, Moscow, Russia. In total, he had over 38 years of service with the laboratory.

Tom was an avid hunter, gardener, skier and runner, all activities he enjoyed doing with children and grandchildren. He greatly enjoyed belonging to the Atomic City Roadrunners. He actively participated in numerous community activities in Los Alamos, including serving as a Little League umpire, working on implementing Title 9 in Los Alamos, and working with the Los Alamos Historical Society. In recognition of his many efforts, the Los Alamos Historical Society honored him with the Los Alamos History Medal award in June 2016. He was a member of the White Rock Methodist Church and involved in the current rebuilding effort of the Los Alamos Unitarian Church.

Thomas is survived by his first wife of 24 years, Marilyn Stoops; and their five children, Scott (Betsy), Peter (Kristine), Michael (Lori), Dawn, and Brian (Shiela) Sandford. He is also survived by the children of his second wife of 33 years, Ruth Demuth (deceased), Katherine (Mark Johnson) Demuth, Kimberly (Fred) Glick, Mary (Anthony) Sandoval, and Hal (Monette) Demuth II. At the time of his death, Tom was married to his third wife, Niña Johnson. He is also survived by his stepdaughter, Kellan Mahoney (Alfred) Chavez. Combined, he played the role of grandfather to 30-plus grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren at the time of his passing.

A memorial service will be held in Los Alamos and will be scheduled for some time in January 2017. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider donations to two organizations that he cared deeply about, namely the Los Alamos Historical Society, and the Title 1 Homeless Project for Albuquerque Public Schools,

Finally, he asked that his obituary end as follows:

Gather evidence, think critically … go vote!

Please visit the online guestbook for Thomas at