John Edwin Northrup…August 17, 1955 – May 3, 2015


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John Edwin Northrup passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on May 3, 2015 at his residence in Palo Alto, California.  A public memorial service celebrating his life will be held in December of 2015.  John was born at Sacred Heart Hospital in Lamar, Colorado on August 17, 1955 to parents Robert Edwin and Ruth Williams Northrup of Lamar.

He attended Parkview Elementary School, Lamar Junior High School, and graduated from Lamar High School in 1973 as the Valedictorian of his class.   He was a gifted athlete throughout school, capturing the conference rushing title in high school football, and was an Eagle Scout.   He attended the University of Colorado, Boulder from 1973-1977 and earned a bachelor’s degree in physics.   He did his graduate work in physics at University of California, Berkeley and received his Ph.D in the early 80’s.   From there he was briefly a post-doctoral researcher at Xerox’s PARC (Palo Alto Research Complex) laboratories in Palo Alto, California, before taking a professorship at Arizona State University.  He returned to PARC after two years, where he led a long and illustrious career as a solid state physicist developing semiconductor materials useful to the electronics industry.

He authored over 150 scientific publications and numerous patents.  He was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the Material Research Society.  In the words of his lab supervisor Dr. Ross Bringans, “John was a world-renowned expert in the modeling of atomic structure and how that relates directly to electronic performance.”

Dr. Northrup was preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Ruth Northrup, and is survived by two brothers, David (Cheryl) Northrup of Lamar, and Scott (Chris) Northrup of Cookeville, Tennessee.   His nephews and nieces are Nathan (Giovanna), Graham (Stephanie), Carey (Megan) Northrup, Camella Northrup, Jonathan (Maria), and Kara (Danny) Pratt.    Details of the public memorial service will be announced later.

Arrangements are under the direction of the Peacock Family.  For current information and online condolences please visit our website at

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