Alan Coulter England, 92, Oak Ridge

Alan Coulter England, 92, died peacefully at home on March 4, 2024, surrounded by family. He was an active, longtime resident of Oak Ridge.

Dr. England was an experimental plasma physicist in the Thermonuclear (Fusion Energy) Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) for 35 years. He worked on several mirror machines, three tokamaks, and a stellarator. He authored or co-authored more than 90 scientific papers and over 100 conference papers and reports. During his time at ORNL, he had several foreign assignments: at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics outside Munich, Germany, for one year; Ioffe Institute in Leningrad, Russia, for three months; the Kurchatov Institute in Moscow, Russia, for six weeks; and the National Institute for Fusion Science in Toki, Japan for four weeks. He was also on assignment at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, New Jersey, twice for two years each.

After retiring in 1995, he volunteered for several organizations, including Reading for the Blind and Dyslexic and Big Brothers/Big Sisters. He was also a court-appointed special advocate (CASA) in Oak Ridge. He enjoyed running and competed in area races with his family as members of the Oak Ridge Track Club and the Knoxville Track Club. He often participated in races when he traveled for business and joined the Princeton Track Club while living there.

In 1997, he took a ten-month position as a guest professor at the National Institute for Fusion Research in Tajimi City, Japan. In 1999, the Pohang Institute for Science and Technology in South Korea invited him to participate in the Korean Brain Pool program. He then spent twelve more years conducting fusion-related research at the Korea Basic Science Institute (National Fusion Research Institute) in Daejeon, South Korea.

During his stay overseas, he joined several hiking clubs and climbed many mountains in Japan and Korea. He joined several caving and running groups, such as the Korean Society for Cave Environmental Science and the Daejeon Marathon Club. He led the Daejeon Hikers Club for several years. He also helped found the Daedeok Toastmasters Club and facilitated the expat meeting group called Stammtisch. He traveled extensively in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Mongolia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Malaysia, Russia, Japan, and Singapore.

He returned to the US at the start of 2012, where he again became a CASA volunteer (2014-2020) and participated in various charitable activities with the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church (ORUUC), including tutoring second graders and delivering fresh fruit to disadvantaged students at a local elementary school. He also was a co-leader of the Humanist group at the ORUUC and an active member of the ORUUC Buddhist Study Group. He was a member of the East Tennessee Grotto and enjoyed outings with that group, including practice sessions for cave rescues. He was active in Toastmasters throughout his adult life and gave several talks at the Oak Ridge Institute for Continued Learning (ORICL) on his experiences in Korea. He traveled with his then-wife, Jimena Goich-England, to Russia, South Africa, and China.

Dr. England was born in Belleville, Illinois, on March 1, 1932, the son of Glenn Lewis and Mildred Aurine (Coulter) England. He attended the University of Illinois, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Physics in 1954. He received his Ph.D. in Physics in 1961 from the University of Rochester in New York. After graduation, he moved to Oak Ridge to join the Fusion Energy Division at Y-12.

He is survived by his three daughters and their spouses, Jean and Vance Reese; Julie England and Raja Thiagarajan; and Sandy England and Karen Hyrkas; his adopted children, Nathan England and Jerry England; and his grandchildren, Jonathan Reese, Jason Thiagarajan, Willow England, and Ryan England.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Helen Louise (England) Wenzel; and three of his former wives, Nancy Jean (Moore) England, Margaret (Jourolmon) England, and Mary Wendy (Rablah) Williams.

A celebration of life will be held at the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church on June 8 at 2 p.m. Those who wish to honor his memory may contribute to an organization of their choosing or donate to the Free Medical Clinic at 116 East Division Road, Oak Ridge, TN 37830 ( or to the ORUUC (

 To leave a note for Alan’s family or share a memory please visit our tribute page at 

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