In memoriam: Hiep Le

Hiep Le

Photo courtesy of Hamilton Le

It is with great sadness that we inform the Fermilab community that long-time employee and friend of many Hiep Le died on Jan. 13. Until the time of his passing he worked as a senior operations specialist in the Accelerator Division Target Systems Department.

He is survived by his wife Linda Bui, sons Johnny Bui and Hamilton Le, daughters-in-law Thanh and Maggie, and cherished grandchildren Nolan, Ethan and Sienna. He is also survived by countless friends and colleagues at Fermilab who were fortunate to work with Hiep and count him as a friend.

Born on Jan. 20, 1955, Hiep was nearly 66 years young. He worked at the laboratory for almost 41 years, starting on Jan. 24, 1980, working in Accelerator Division Mechanical Support Department in the technician group.

Hiep Le stands in front of NuMI horn 1 with Target Systems Department colleagues in 2019. Photo: Marty Murphy

In the early days, Hiep worked with Antiproton Source target hall physicists and engineers, including Gerry Dugan, Carlos Hojvat, Jeffery Hangst and George Biallis. His work focused on fabricating and installing the highly challenging target hall components, including the antiproton target, lithium collection lens, pulsed magnets, positioning modules and associated instrumentation. He quickly grew into the lead technician role in this area and served as the subject matter expert and technician supervisor of the AP0 technician group through the 1990s. At that time Hiep moved to a new assignment in support the NuMI Project, where he led a group of technicians to fabricate and install a large array of equipment, including NuMI focusing horns, positioning modules, targets, shielding and instrumentation for the NuMI target hall. During the same time frame, he also led the team of technicians building and installing hardware for the Booster Neutrino Beamline in support of the MiniBooNE experiment. These were very busy times, and Hiep worked alongside engineers and physicists and capably led the technician team, all while accomplishing this work with his usual smile, wit and wonderful caring nature. Until the time of his passing, he continued to provide key engineering support and technical expertise for AP0, Muon g-2, NuMI target hall operations and upgrades, and the BNB target hall.

Hiep Le and his family. Photo courtesy of Hamilton Le

Hiep’s capable handling of such complex and challenging work attest to his abilities and accomplishments at Fermilab. Still, they pale in comparison to his good nature, willingness to help others in all circumstances, kind smile and demeanor, and truly caring spirit. He was a true friend and gentleman.

Hiep has a large family of close friends at Fermilab. They range from the young to the not so young, and they span a wide range of jobs. One thing on which we all agree is that Hiep was one of a handful of individuals you meet in life that is truly special. For many of us, the memories of time spent with Hiep will never fade and are a testament to his wonderful and caring character. He loved to spend time with his growing family, whom he adored and was so proud of. He also loved to fish, enjoyed good food and going to lunch with his friends and co-workers, and was proud to work at Fermilab for 41 years.

He often conveyed to his sons how much he loved his job and felt fortunate to work at Fermilab. I would suggest that we, his friends and coworkers, were the lucky and fortunate one.

See more photos or leave a word of kindness and support for Hiep’s family online.

Kris Anderson is the deputy department head and head of engineering of the Target Systems Department.