John H. Hopps Jr.

DOD Official

John H. Hopps Jr., 65, a high-ranking Defense Department official with a scientific portfolio, died of respiratory failure May 14 at Suburban Hospital. He lived in Roswell, Ga., and had a residence in Cabin John.

Dr. Hopps had a long career in research and academia before joining the Defense Department in 2001. He was deputy director of defense research and engineering. He simultaneously was deputy undersecretary of defense for laboratories and basic sciences.

He had oversight responsibility for the Defense Department's laboratories, including science and engineering workforce issues, and university-based basic research, along with technical cooperation programs between the United States and its allies.

John Henry Hopps Jr. was a Dallas native and 1958 mathematics and chemistry graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta. He received a master's degree in physical chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a doctorate in physics from Brandeis University in 1971.

Early in his career, he taught physics at Ohio State University and was a research professor in nuclear engineering at MIT.

From 1977 to 1995, he worked at the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory in Cambridge, Mass., and became chief of photonics technology, working with high-performance fiber-optic components and laser technology. He also was principal scientist at the lab.

In the early 1990s, while on leave from the laboratory, he was director of the division of materials sciences at the National Science Foundation. In the late 1990s, he was provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Morehouse.

His honors included the lifetime achievement award from the Federation of Materials Societies.

His memberships included Phi Beta Kappa. He served on government task forces and boards, including Oak Ridge Associated Universities.

Survivors include his wife of 41 years, June Gary Hopps of Roswell and Cabin John; two children, Jessica Hopps of Malden, Mass., and Matthew Hopps of Quincy, Mass.; his mother, Ethel Sims of Dallas; a sister; and two granddaughters.