Memorial services for Dr. Daniel Holslin, PhD of Albuquerque, New Mexico, formerly of Alberta, MN will be held Saturday, September 18, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in Alberta. Visitation will be one hour prior to services at the church. Burial will be in Frog Lake Cemetery, rural Alberta.
Dr. Daniel Holslin, PhD, nuclear physicist, and loving father of two, passed away Thursday, September 2, 2021, at the age of 62. Born and raised on a farm in Stevens County, Minnesota, he was beloved for his analytical mind, goofy sense of humor, and gentle generosity. He spent 32 years as a scientist, conducting innovative research on gamma rays, working on top-secret projects to prevent the illicit spread of nuclear weapons and other dangerous materials. He loved mountain biking, craft beer, and road trips exploring America’s natural wonders.
Daniel passed away after an eight-year battle with breast cancer-a disease that is rarely found in men but still dangerous. He spent his final days surrounded by family and friends at his home in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is survived by his eldest son, Christian Holslin and fiancée, Samina Anwar of New York; his younger son, Peter Holslin of Utah; his father, Maurice Holslin, of Alberta; his brothers, Dale (Laura) Holslin of Plymouth, Mark (Jackie) Holslin of Alberta, and Paul Holslin of Lakeland; his sister, Elizabeth (Todd) Hottovy of Morris; seven nieces and nephews; two great-nieces and one great-nephew. He is remembered with love by Jill Holslin (née Diers), the mother of his two sons, and Lori Welch. He was preceded in death by his mother, Muriel Holslin.
Dan attended Chokio-Alberta High School, graduating in 1977. He then went on to Concordia College Moorhead to graduate in 1981. Dan continued his education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he received his PhD in Nuclear Physics in 1988, and was then called “Doctor Dan,” by friends and family. In graduate school, he worked under the tutelage of esteemed professor Willy Haeberli on studies into nuclear reactions and the acceleration of charged particles. He then moved with Jill and their two young boys to San Diego, California where for 24 years he worked at Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), a leading research and development company with a focus on science and engineering. He designed and conducted tests to observe and measure the behavior of gamma rays for the purpose of detecting materials occluded by walls, containers, or vehicles. His research played a central role in the development of major projects such as VACIS, an inspection system that scans cargo containers, train cars, and trucks for narcotics, weapons, and nuclear contraband.
In 2012, he was hired by Sandia National Laboratories, a prestigious, Albuquerque-based affiliate of the Federal Department of Energy, devoted to research on nuclear forensics and nuclear nonproliferation technologies. Much of his work at Sandia was classified; yet what we do know is his projects were designed to prevent nuclear and chemical attacks within America’s borders. He retired from Sandia in 2020.
Although his career took him from field tests to conferences in far-off locales across the country and around the globe, Daniel always felt a close connection to the Holslin farm where he grew up. As a teenager, the sprawling corn and soybean fields just south of Alberta and the calming expanses of Frog Lake and Lake Hattie gave him his first venues for sometimes-explosive experiments. Throughout his life, he lived on the outskirts of both San Diego and Albuquerque, where he enjoyed the ample outdoor space and peace and quiet, afforded by the rural setting. He loved hiking and taking his sons on road trips across the American southwest. In his final days, he shared with his family that he looked forward to his body and soul returning to the Minnesota home he loved so much after his passing: “I always wanted to visit the farm one more time.”
The family prefers memorials to The American Cancer Society.