Ethan Allen Platt

Ethan Allen Platt died of kidney failure on May 22, 2020, at the age of 102. He was born in Decatur, Illinois, the youngest of four children. At age 6, the family moved to Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. While completing three years at the University of Illinois, he worked for the Illinois State Geological Survey. Ethan enlisted in the Army in March 1941. He was assigned to the Coast Artillery and spent 15 months in Peru training the Peruvian Marines on proper firing of their coastal guns guarding their oil fields. He was redirected to Officers' Candidate School where he received his commission. He earned his wings as a paratrooper at Fort Benning, Georgia. Later, he was deployed to the Philippines for the planned invasion of Japan. After the atomic bomb was dropped, Ethan was sent to Japan on the first day of the occupation. He became Unit Commander overseeing the removal and disposition of Japanese explosives stored in the caves there.

In 1947, Ethan resumed his college academics at UC Berkeley. In 1949 he married Elisabeth Frazier and in 1951 received his BS in Mechanical Engineering. He was a member of Tau Beta Pi and Phi Beta Kappa. Upon graduation he was called back to active service for the Korean War where he spent the winter and summer of 1952 as a combat infantryman.

Ethan's career at Livermore Lawrence National Laboratory began in 1952, shortly after it opened. For the next 10 years, he participated in all of the nuclear tests in the Pacific and in Nevada. In 1958, he received his masters degree in nuclear engineering from UC Berkeley. He spent several years on a Ramjet reactor before joining Z-Division where he worked for 10 years. He was engineer-at-large in the Engineering Sciences Division and the Research Engineering Division. He retired in 1984 after 32 years.

Classical music formed an important part of his life from a young age. He was charter president of the Livermore Symphony where he played clarinet and served as manager for 20 years. He also founded the Livermore Woodwind Quintet.

Ethan is survived by his wife of 44 years, Marguerite; sons, Spencer (Margot) and George (Annalisa); and daughter, Emily Rich (Rob). He is also survived by stepsons, Larry Robertson and Scott Robertson (Terry); and stepdaughter, Susan Thomas (David). Interment was at the San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery. A gathering of family and friends will be at a later date.