Peter Colombo

May 23, 2016

Peter Colombo served his country proudly in World War II. Upon completion of his military service, he tried to return to New York University, where he was a pre-med student prior to enlisting in the military. He was unable to continue these studies, because NYU was only taking pre-med students who had two years of experience. At that point, Mr. Colombo decided to pursue his college education at Kent University, where he received his degree in chemistry. He continued on to the University of Alabama, earning another degree as a bacteriologist.

When Mr. Colombo returned home, he began his career at Brookhaven National Lab as a chemist; this is where Pete met Lorraine Gilbrandson. The two were married in 1955, built a home in Patchogue, and in 1956 welcomed their first child, Leonard. In 1962, their daughter Lauren was born, and Karen joined the family in 1964.

Mr. Colombo continued to serve his country throughout his career at the Brookhaven lab as a division head in the Nuclear Research Center and as a Consultant to IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency). His assignment as a consultant was to visit developing countries that were exploring nuclear energy and share his expertise in the storage and disposal of nuclear waste generated by nuclear power facilities. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Mr. Colombo was assigned to a research project, where he voyaged on a submarine-like ship named “Alvin.” Alvin took him about 2 ½ miles deep in the ocean to fetch a 25-year-old barrel of nuclear waste, checking to see if the disposal process was safe and the barrel intact.

At the time of Mr. Colombo’s retirement in 1994, with 43 years of service at the lab, he had either created or assisted in the creation of eight different patents belonging to several organizations or companies including DOE, NRC and the EPA. Over his lifetime, Mr. Colombo has given up so much personally to serve his country, including his dream of becoming a doctor.

His nephew, Frank Colombo, says it all: “My family and I fi nd it a privilege to call this selfless man a part of our family.”