Morris “Morrie” Pongratz
Morris (“Morrie”) Pongratz grew up on a farm/ranch near O’Neill, Nebraska. He attended a one-room country school from K thru 8th grade. He played on a state championship football team in high school. Morrie graduated Magna Cum Laude from Creighton University in Omaha with a triple major in math, physics and philosophy and a minor in theology. He earned a PhD in physics from the University of Maryland (Thesis “Observations of Acceleration and Thermalization in Auroral Electrons”).
Morrie and his wife, Cheryl, moved to Los Alamos in 1973. They have two surviving children, Karin and Dan, both graduates of Los Alamos High School. Morrie worked at EG&G, Los Alamos and at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) for over 45 years. His work experience includes nuclear test diagnostics, active experiments in space, satellite-based test ban treaty monitoring and nuclear forensics. He was a four-time recipient of LANL Distinguished Performance Awards.
Morrie served to seven terms on Los Alamos County Council where he served as council chair and vice-chair. He was elected to one term on Los Alamos Board of Education. Morrie was named Living Treasure in Los Alamos in 2011; his wife Cheryl was named a Living Treasurer in 2018. He has volunteered as PA announcer for Los Alamos High School athletics for over 30 years. He was named to Los Alamos High School Athletic Hall of Fame 2014.
Morrie is a 35-plus year member of Kiwanis Club of Los Alamos. He has served as Kiwanis Advisor to LAHS Key Club for over 30 years. He is a member of Immaculate Heart of Mary parish, serving as Lector and Eucharistic Minister. He produced the book “Nuclear Weapons and Morality” for Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in 1983. Morrie is a charter member of the Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation, the Los Alamos Forum on Faith and Science, and the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board. Morrie is an organizer/recruiter for United Way Youth Team.