Dr. Allen Martin HUNTER II

July 21, 1945June 22, 2021

Allen Martin HUNTER was born on July 21, 1945 in Memphis, Tennessee and passed away on June 22, 2021 in San Diego, California and is under the care of El Camino Memorial - Sorrento Valley.

Funeral Service will be held on July 31, 2021 at 10:00 am at El Camino Memorial - Sorrento Valley, 5600 Carroll Canyon Rd, San Diego, CA. Reception will be held on July 31, 2021 at 11:00 am at El Camino Memorial - Sorrento Valley, 5600 Carroll Canyon Rd, San Diego, CA.

You may leave a message for the family by clicking here.


31 July

Funeral Service

10:00 am - 11:00 am

El Camino Memorial - Sorrento Valley

5600 Carroll Canyon Rd
San Diego, CA 92121

31 July


11:00 am - 1:00 pm

El Camino Memorial - Sorrento Valley

5600 Carroll Canyon Rd
San Diego, CA 92121


Dr. Allen Martin HUNTER II

have a memory or condolence to add?

Paula Gibson

July 22, 2021

Sending my condolences to Allen’s family. Although I never met him, his sister Diane has been a friend of mine; though her I have heard a lot about Allen and his caring attitude towards his sister. He will be missed!

Candy Macy

July 14, 2021

I had great pleasure working with Allen this last year while helping him with the care of his sister, Diane, who is my best friend for over fifty years! We communicated back and forth daily by email,text or phone calls. I shared old pictures of her over the years as well as many pictures from my garden flowers which he seemed to enjoy. He shared some of his projects with me which were always above my scope.
He was here to facilitate Diane's move and my son finally got to meet him. We had an enjoyable dinner together at a restaurant in Overland Park and he and Chris seemed to enjoy each other's company and interests.
We called Allen earlier in the day on that awful Tuesday so he and Diane could talk; he was very specific we call before 11am as he was going on a bike ride with a friend.
It is just unbelievable that he is gone. Not a day goes by that I think of something I would want to ask him. He is missed by my son and me. Rest in Peace Allen. My deepest regards for Janet and Allen III.
Candy Macy
Chris Macy

Skylar Bird

July 8, 2021

Allen came into my life when I needed a guardian angel. Allen and Janet took me into their home one summer while I attended summer school and showed me nothing but love and compassion. I quickly found Allen would become one of my greatest confidants, mentors, and family members. He exuded joy for life and this attitude that made you want to be better. Never will I ever encounter someone who worked so hard with such passion. There isn't a day that I don't miss him, but I am so grateful to have met him. He showed me and many others how to be a proper friend, coworker, father, husband, scientist, and overall human. Love you Allen! I know you are running a tight ship up there in Heaven.

Donald Bruns

July 1, 2021

Al took a chance on me, hiring me 27 years ago to work at Trex. I hope he knew I appreciated everything he did to help me. He was one of my toughest, but best, bosses. After I retired, we still kept in touch. He just asked for my technical opinion on his current idea, and I told him about my current project. I hope he is resting in peace.

Greg Otto

July 1, 2021

A legend among men, Al was a great person to have worked along with. He personally saved our company on several occasions. He cared more about his co-workers than himself sometimes. Everybody loved him. He really knew how to get things done. He did a lot for me personally, and I will always be thankful. I'm sure he is in a better place now.

Todd Splettstoeszer

July 1, 2021

Allen my heart goes out to you and family.

Matthew 5:4 ESV
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

I have and will be praying that you and your family will be comforted during this time of sorrow. Additionally I leave you with this verse:

Psalm 34:18
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.


Dr. Allen M. Hunter, II
Dr. Allen M. Hunter II, 75, of San Diego died unexpectedly June 22, 2021, at the Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla. Allen was born July 21, 1945, in Memphis, Tennessee to Lottie Ellen (Armstrong) and Allen M. Hunter. He is survived by his wife, Janet, and his son Allen M. Hunter, III, both of San Diego, and his sister Diane S. Hunter of Overland Park, Kansas.

His father, now deceased, Lt. Col. Allen M. Hunter, U.S. Army, served his country during W.W. II and the Korean War. His parents divorced when Allen was eight years old, and Lottie Hunter then made a life for her two children in the small Kansas town of Hays, where she could trust neighbors to know and keep watch over all the children, an important consideration for a single working mother.

In the summer of 1958, at the age of 14, Allen took a job as a farm hand in Johnson, Kansas, and returned to this work each summer for a total of five years. He was a tractor driver, a combine operator, and an irrigator. He worked 12-hour days, so high school friends did not see him lounging around the pool during the summers. He did the work of an adult man and was paid as an adult. With his earnings he bought ham radio equipment, enough equipment to cover the surface of his desk.

Allen earned a General Class amateur radio license (K0EFK) while in high school and was highly active on CW and phone. This interest in and skill with electronic equipment and machines stayed with him throughout his life. His enthusiasm for his work at The Los Alamos National Laboratory, from 1979-1983, was in part due to the state-of-the-art computer network available for his use.

Allen graduated from Hays High School in Hays, Kansas, in 1963. Even then, his classmates recognized his quest for excellence in all his endeavors, and especially for the study of physics and mathematics. A few classmates had even tried his home brew, which they described as “pretty good.” Allen pursued this hobby occasionally until 2006, sometimes hosting tasting parties at his home. Before one such tasting party, his inventory of brews available for sampling included four lager-style beers and twelve types of ale. He wanted to make a brew better than he could buy. He brewed these at his home, and many, seeing his skill and interest in brewing, suggested he start a brewery. More recently, he became an accomplished barista and visitors to his home gladly gave him their orders for a latte, an americano, a cappuccino, or some other espresso drink.

College for Allen was the Air Force Academy; his major was physics. He was assigned to the 16th Squadron and was a member of the 9th class to graduate from the Academy. After graduation in 1967, Allen studied physics at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, earning a M.S. degree in 1968.

Also, while at OSU he met Janet Endicott, a Columbus high school Latin and English teacher, and they married on June 8, 1968. They shared a love of gourmet cooking, movies, books, interesting words and their usage, walks, history, and travel. Allen and Janet, however, did not share all interests; Allen’s interest in ham radio had shifted to music systems, including tuners, receivers, speakers, amplifiers, etc. He liked loud rock music. At the Air Force Academy, Friday nights might include listening to We Gotta Get Out of this Place by The Animals (1965), but Janet might prefer to listen to Johnny Mercer’s Autumn Leaves. They respected each other’s differences, an important reason for a marriage that endured for 53 years. Details in this obituary of Allen’s work as a physicist and his contributions to science are taken from Allen’s resume, his written work history, or from other scientists.

After receiving his M.S. degree and acquiring a wife, Allen continued his graduate studies in pursuit of a Ph.D., but he never returned to the OSU Columbus campus to attend classes. Instead, he completed courses required for the PhD degree remotely (teleconferencing) while stationed at the Aerospace Research Laboratories, Wright Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio during the years 1969-1972.

At the Research Laboratories, he performed theoretical and experimental research on plasma diagnostics and transport properties. During that period, his group determined the emission coefficient, viscosity, and electrical and thermal conductivities of arc plasma using Ar, Xe, Kr, and air. He developed diagnostic techniques based on optical and mechanical probes. He computationally simulated the performance of both induction and d.c. arcs. He invented a mathematical inversion method for obtaining local fluid and radiative properties of turbulent plasma using indirect emission data.

His son Allen M. Hunter, III, was born on September 7, 1972. He took a month’s vacation to stay at home with his new son and to prepare for doctoral exams, which he passed with top marks in May 1973.

In 1973, the young family was assigned to Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The time at Kirtland (1973-1976) was very productive. Allen would go to bed at around 8 pm, get up at 4 am and put in four hours working on his doctoral dissertation before walking to the Air Force Weapons Laboratory at Kirtland AFB, where he worked as a Lab Physicist.

He managed a five-man theoretical physics group that performed research on high energy lasers. They investigated the kinetics of CO2, CO, DF/ CO2, DF, and HF lasers pumped variously by electron beams, electrical discharges, chemical reactions, gas-dynamic expansion, and fast-burn nuclear reactors. As a group effort they constructed the laser systems code, DENTAL, which simulated system performance physically – not parametrically – from laser cavity to target interaction. He also performed calculations related to DF rotational relaxation, electron distribution functions, electric discharges, laser resonators, and turbulent mixing. In his spare time, he began, researched, and completed a doctoral dissertation on refractive diagnostic techniques.

Capt. Hunter’s final Air Force assignment (1976-1979) was at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) where he was an Assistant Professor. He constructed and taught graduate courses in laser physics, stochastic and nonlinear processes, thermal physics, solid state physics, geometrical optics, physical optics, plasma physics, and molecular physics. He was thesis advisor for nine M.S. and two Ph.D. candidates. In addition, he performed research on the carbon dioxide mode-medium interaction and KrF laser discharges, kinetics, and optics. Dr. Hunter has published more than 45 scientific papers. Dr. Hunter left the Air Force in 1979 because he wanted to pursue science as a civilian. After he resigned from the regular Air Force, he joined the Air Force Reserves and soon attained the rank of Major. However, his work at Los Alamos left him no time to serve in the Reserves, so he resigned from the Air Force again.

Captain Hunter was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal for his contributions to laser research.
In 1979, he took a job at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico. He analyzed CO2 laser kinetics, x-ray lasers, electron distribution functions for e-beam pumped plasma and the effects of Amplified Spontaneous Emission (ASE) on laser amplifiers and fusion targets. Dr. Hunter was leader of the Advanced Laser Development Group at Los Alamos from 1982 until 1983. He directed technology development to demonstrate that the 20 kJ KrF Large Aperture Module could be built quickly and cost effectively, and that the aperture combination technique could be implemented with simple optical elements and control systems.

In 1983, he moved to San Diego where he was Vice President and Systems Design Group Manager at Western Research Corporation. He was responsible for designing, building, and testing high energy excimer and Raman laser systems. He stayed with the company – though it underwent several name changes – for nearly 30 years, retiring from Trex Enterprises in 2010.

In 1998, while at Trex Enterprises, he left San Diego to head a research project in Socorro, New Mexico, and then in 1998 relocated to Maui, Hawaii, where he led various research and development projects before his return in 2005 to Trex headquarters in San Diego, where he was Vice President of Operations.
During the years 1999 and 2000, Al and Janet built a house on Maui. The house had a brewery and a media room. It was a dream for Al to brew ales and lagers, but he needed to brew in the early mornings when the weather was cooler. Although the climate on Maui was not conducive to proper brewing, Al nevertheless persevered and always had beer on tap for friends who might stop for a brew. He stocked his media room with DVDs of the latest movies and his collection now has about 200 DVDs. In the early 2000s, internet streaming was much too slow to be practical; buffering could be interminable. Netflix had a subscription service that mailed DVDs to customers, but the DVDs were slow to reach Maui, and it was not until about 2007 that they began streaming movies, hence the desire to own DVDs. The new house had an office and a garden for Janet as well as a large master suite with a spacious bathroom.

During the years on Maui (1999-2007), the Hunters made new friends and welcomed family members to vacation on Maui. Allen III visited his parents on Maui for Thanksgiving in 1999 and decided to stay. He continued his work as an Internet programmer for a few years with an Internet start-up company before joining one of the Trex subsidiaries as a program manager and software engineer. He worked at Trex for 16 years and now is a software engineer at Daylight Solutions.

In retirement, Al was an avid hiker and bicyclist, and balanced his time between exercise and exploring fields of mathematics that he had not had the opportunity to explore before retirement.

For the last several years he had been working with a start-up company to develop a new energy system. He was advising the founder of the company, who is an old friend, and he was also mentoring young scientists at the company. It was his habit to work at his computer or read for a few hours before breakfast, having first prepared a pot of coffee to enjoy. He was always an early riser, starting his day at 4 am or 5 am. After breakfast he would bike or hike, take a walk with Janet, or maybe work at his computer.

Friends remember his wonderful sense of humor and his kindness. His son recalled that his dad was “upbeat, optimistic, caring, and funny. He always had a dad joke. He was brilliant, efficient and hard working. He was also one of the most moral, ethical, and decent human beings I’ve ever known. He had an iron will. When he decided he needed to do something, he did it, and he did it immediately.”
In lieu of flowers, please donate to Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD), The San Diego Food Bank, or the San Diego Humane Society.

On the day of his death, June 22, 2021, the following books were on his desk: Numerical Modeling in Applied Physics and Astrophysics by Richard L. Bowers and James R. Wilson; Laser Beam Shaping/Theory and Techniques, edited by Fred M. Dickey; Introduction to Fourier Optics, Joseph W. Goodman; Computational Fourier Optics/A MATHLAB Tutorial, David Voelz.


Summary of Some of Al Hunter’s Contributions by his Friend, Bob Hunter

I was first exposed to Al’s work at Kirtland AFB (the Air Force Weapons Lab) in 1972. He was then modelling the various lasers in terms of kinetics and optical extraction so as to assess their value to the Air Force for scaling to large size. First, let me tell you why I held Al in such high regard and why he commanded so much respect in the work he did and directed. Al had several distinguishing characteristics that were the hallmark of the groups that performed work with him. He was extremely persistent in pursuit of the best technology. He remained a world authority in areas of optical propagation and laser kinetics and extraction for over some 40 years. He was able to inspire creative work to meet harsh deadlines – at the peak of the most intense efforts, groups were working over 110 hours per week. This confidence in his efforts was based on a combination of extraordinary technical and organizational abilities coupled with his persistence and focus. Recently, as aspects of this work had become relevant for rapid, low-cost energy production, Al had been performing program formulation and detailed technical kinetics and optical calculations for an ICF based approach in conjunction with Innoven Energy. He had been mentoring a new crop of young engineers to carry out this work. They are in awe of his technical abilities, attention to detail and inspirational mentoring. This work will have as much impact as his work on high power lasers for the U.S. military.
Let me outline of the major work that Al did and the consequences of that work. The rare-gas halide lasers (KrF, XeCl, XeF, ArF, etc.) were supported by, discovered, and became of substantial interest to, the U.S. military in 1975. Al and Thomas Johnson assembled the definitive kinetics and extraction code from various experimental data for this class of laser and their publication became the definitive guide to rare gas halide kinetics. Two of these lasers (KrF and ArF) achieved prominence as the preeminent light sources for the exposure tools utilized to pattern semiconductor chips and are used worldwide. For the military applications, Al became an expert in scaling this class of laser to large pulse energies for both applications to Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) and the large-scale applications for ballistic missile defense and antisatellite defense. When Al joined Los Alamos in 1982, he oversaw the design and operation of large-scale electron beam pump KrF lasers (LAM) that is the largest energy KrF laser built today. He generated the designs and hardware outline of the Aurora Laser System based on multiplex pulse compression. At LANL, as P-16 Group Leader, his work was known to Dr. Gregory Canavan and Dr. George Keyworth, Head of Physics Division.
Al joined me at Western Research in 1983 in order to rapidly develop large pulse excimer lasers for military applications. During his time there, the brightest pulse laser ever built was demonstrated in 1987 based on utilizing Raman beam combining and large excimer modules. This was the first laser brighter than a nuclear weapon. He generated, sold and ran large programs as well as carried out detailed kinetic calculations on how to line narrow the XeCl laser and scale it to maximum size. His work at Los Alamos had a direct bearing on the decision by the Reagan Administration to pursue what became known as the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). Dr. Keyworth became President Reagan’s Science Advisor and was given the responsibility of deciding whether or not to pursue defensive systems for ballistic missile defense in order to halt the ongoing USSR nuclear weapons buildup. Recently, Dr. Keyworth stated that he went ahead with the decision based in large measure on the potential of the work Al and others in his group were carrying out to develop the technology for large ground-based lasers.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Al oversaw programs and demonstrated several aspects of the large system architecture in the field. These included atmospheric Raman beam combination to deliver powerful pulse energies to space mirrors for destruction of enemy rockets, atmospheric compensation to remove the effects of atmospheric turbulence on the beams, and the development of very high-resolution imaging for observation of the effects on a target. His group also demonstrated the first successful noncooperative compensation, tracking and illumination of a space target.
He will be greatly missed, and his legacy will be carried on by those that worked with him and learned from him.