Earle D. Hightower was born October 8, 1922 in Salt Lake City, Utah, the fifth child of Eugene Clyde Hightower and Alta Theo Fiske and died June 8, 2015 in Pinehurst. He graduated from Salida (CO.) High School and was a journalism major at Mesa College when WW II began. He enlisted in the Army March 1942 and was honorably discharged in 1946. He met Laurene Dale Jones, whom he described as a “beautiful Army telephone operator” at Ft. Knox. They were married 69 years at the time of his death. They moved to Los Alamos, NM , where he was the first civilian Chief of Security at the AEC test site, where the atomic bomb was being tested. He was promoted to Sandia Base and then to the Las Vegas Test Site, and finally to headquarters in Washington, DC. While a new father and full time employee he earned a BA from American University. He later earned a Master’s Degree and a BS from University of Maryland. He retired as Assistant Director of Security for the AEC after 30 years of service. While with the government, he invented and patented various masking and de-bugging devices. In his “off hours” he began two weekly newspapers, the Gaithersburg (now Montgomery County) Gazette, and the Damascus Courier. He was also a professional photographer for the Washington Star, photographing D.C. political and society notables. After retirement he had a second career as a licensed real estate broker and appraiser. He was a tireless animal advocate, rehabilitating crows, treeing poachers until they could be arrested, and nursing various abandoned dogs and cats back to health. In his final years he wrote a book, “The Oppenheimer Conspiracy”, based on his confrontation with the physicist at Los Alamos.
He leaves his wife, Laurene, of the home, daughter Alexandra, and three grandchildren, Joyce Laurene Pope (Raleigh), Earle James Arthur Pope (Boone), and Charlotte Kay Hightower( Kittrell), numerous nieces and nephews, brother and sister in law William and Florene Peachey of Potomac, MD, extra-special nephew William Peachey, wife Barbara and their daughter Emily and his pal, Shredder. A private service will be held later. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to Animal Advocates of Moore County, 229 Ridgeline Road, Aberdeen, NC 28315.