New Offices

Pictured at the new offices of The Independent in the old Bank of Italy are (from left) Lynn Seppala, Joan Seppala, David Lowell, Robert Several, and Gale Marshall.

Lynn Seppala, Joan’s husband, while not working for The Independent played a big part in the fact that the newspaper has existed for 50 years.

Joan recalls after The Independent lost advertisers because of the SAVE Initiative, “Lynn Seppala, who had a modest starting salary at Lawrence Livermore, loaned us his pay check at the beginning of each month, but we had to return it at the end. Some say that I married Lynn for his money.”

Joking aside, Joan says that Lynn has always been there when needed, whether it’s to provide moral support, funds, or help in solving a problem.

In addition, Lynn Seppala is a well known scientist and an active member of the community.

He has been a longtime supporter of local and regional symphonies, opera and other classical music groups. He serves on the boards of Del Valle Fine Arts, Livermore-Amador Symphony, Rae Dorough Speaker Series and the Pacific Chamber Symphony. Lynn founded the local Pacific Chamber board and became its first president. Lynn is president-elect of the Las Positas College Foundation, and sits on the advisory board of Shakespeare’s Associates. Until recently, he also participated as a member of the Friends of the Vineyards board and the Livermore Valley Opera board.

In a story written about him at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Seppala was quoted as saying, “You need the arts for the spirit of the community. Having vibrant cultural arts helps bring jobs to the Livermore area. People want good schools, amenities, a clean environment and something to do culturally.”

He followed the construction of the Bankhead Theater, noting that the opening of the Bankhead Theater in Livermore has been a boon for the cultural arts in the Tri-Valley, especially music organizations that now have a venue in which to perform.

Seppala has also made his mark as a scientist.

After earning a doctorate in optics at the University of Rochester in New York, Seppala has spent most of his career at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore. He retired early this year after 37 years. At the time of his retirement, he had most recently served as the chief optical designer for the laser fusion program.

“Dr. Seppala is considered one of the world’s top experts in optical design,” said Edward Moses, principal associate director at Livermore. “Throughout his career, Lynn has tackled the most technically challenging optical problems and produced real and effective solutions to issues of national and international importance.”

Those challenges have included designs for a linear accelerator that will advance studies in precision physics, the first-ever, in-laboratory thermonuclear ignition that could lead to an unlimited source of energy and the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) to be built in Chile. Upon his retirement, the following was written, “It is not an exaggeration to say that Lynn’s repeated contributions to the LSST optical design over more than a decade have been essential to the ability of the LSST project to move forward with confidence that the optics can be produced with the quality necessary to achieve the scientific goals.”

Seppala’s achievements are all the more impressive due to his personal struggles with a stroke at age 46 that paralyzed his right side and seriously affected his speech and cognitive abilities.

He overcame or compensated for the losses. He learned to become left-handed, walk again and ski expert runs despite his remaining handicaps. Regaining speech and cognitive abilities, he retained his position as chief optical designer, performing at even higher levels.