Obituaries

Each month our LAA Website adds names & Obituaries to honor those recently passed.  At each LAA meeting our Communications Chair reads aloud these names of our friends & associates who have passed since our previous meeting. Our Obituaries go back to 2011. Several albums of newspaper-clipping obits go back long-before that.

 NASA ALUMNI OBITUARIES – Name, Age, Date Passed, History

Nov 2022

Jeremiah Francis Creedon, 82, passed Oct 29.   Jerry began his career at NASA Langley in 163 as a research engineer in the Navigation and Guidance Research Branch within the  Instrument Research Division. He obtained a doctorate in electrical engineering from the University of Rhode Island in 1970.    In 1982 & 1983 he was a Sloan Fellow at Stanford University & received a master of management science degree. Throughout his NASA career, Jerry held numerous management positions. He authored 30  technical articles & received a myriad of prestigious awards.  In 1995, he received the Presidential Rank of Distinguished Executive in Senior Executive Service.   In 1996 he was named director of Langley Research Center & in 2002 promoted to Director of the Office of Aeronautics and Space Technology at NASA HQ in Washington, D.C. After retiring from NASA in 2003, Jerry joined the faculty of Old Dominion University.

H. Harris Hamilton II, 82, passed Oct 30.  He studied engineering, graduating from Tennessee Tech (1963), Virginia Tech (1969) & George Washington University (1980).  Harris’s love of engineering carried him to NASA, where he had a distinguished career spanning 38 years at Langley Research Center. Harris worked in the Space Systems Division, Aerothermodynamics Branch.  Following his retirement, he spent 7 more years continuing research for North Carolina State University.

Daniel Joseph Jobson, 75, passed Oct 31.  Dan spent a full career at Langley Research Center where he was involved with the camera system for the Viking Mars Lander. His interest in human vision culminated with his involvement in NASA’s Aviation Safety Program where he won numerous awards & patents for his work with the Retinex & Visual Servo technologies & received the NASA Exceptional Engineering Achievement Medal.  After retiring from LaRC in 2015, he picked up the camera & was seen almost daily, photographing the scenes around Newport News & Hampton.

Oct 2022

Robert Wayne Guy, 82, Yorktown, VA passed Sept 11.  After a Master’s in Aeronautical Engineering from UVa he had a 42-yr career at Langley Research Center where he excelled in hypersonic space propulsion. 

Billie Jean Wheless Neil, 86, passed Sept 20.  She retired from NASA in 1989 after almost 33 years of service.

John Mitchell Inman, 86, passed Sept 19.  After his Ford Motor Company career as a plant engineer, John joined LaRC.  During nearly 20 years at LaRC, he advanced to the Deputy of the Facilities Development Office before retiring. 

Dr. Ralph J. Muraca, 87, Rockville, VA passed  Sept 23.  He worked on several space-related projects including the Aircraft Energy Efficiency program, the Space Station, and the Space Shuttle program.   Early in his LaRC career, he worked in the Flight Vehicles and Systems Division on the Shuttle Thermal Protection.  In 1994, while Chief of the Aerospace Mechanical Systems Division of the Internal Operations Group, Ralph received the Exceptional Achievement Medal for significant contributions in support of the Space Station redesign. 

Richard Green, 82, Harrisonburg, Va. passed Sept 26.   He began his NASA career in 1963, retiring in 2001. He was part of the team that developed the orbit analysis methods that enabled the 1970s Viking mission to land on Mars.  In the 1970s & 80s he developed new methods to study the radiative balance: a critical part of understanding our climate system and climate change. For this research, he was given the NASA Langley Reid Award as research paper of the year.  His later work left a lasting impact on NASA’s missions to other planets and on our ability to understand the past, present, and future of our own planet for which he received NASA’s prestigious Science Award. 

Lt Col Michael Mark, 70, Yorktown, VA. passed September 27.  He was USAF Judge Advocate for 22 years before 20 years as LaRC contract specialist, attorney-advisor & team lead in the Office of the Chief Counsel.  He shared his procurement expertise through 50 video sessions entitled “Between 2 FARs.

Sept 2022

Michael Phillip “Mike” Finneran, 67, passed Aug 8.  Mike worked in public affairs 1st at Goddard Space Flight Center & then LaRC, where he retired in 2018. An avid photographer, he spent much of his retirement time in this passion. 

Thomas J. Yager, 81, passed Aug 16.  In his 40+ year NASA career as a research engineer he was known worldwide as an expert on runways & pavement surfaces. He continued as a contact & information resource in retirement and was an active member the National Active & Retired Federal Employees Association.  Early on, he participated in nearly every after-work sport for which NASA had teams.

William Skinner Jones, 85, Hampton, VA, passed Aug 28.  After 1959-63 USAF service, he completed the NASA Apprentice School 1963-67.  He worked in NASA’s Composite Materials Section, retiring as Section Head  in 1996..

Marshall Rouse, 68, passed Aug 23.  As a student, he was awarded a NASA internship.  He graduated from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University magna cum laude in 1977 with a BS in mechanical engineering.  He worked at LaRC his entire 43 year professional career, retiring as a senior research engineer in the Structures Testing Branch.  Marshall authored/co-authored 17+ technical papers & awarded NASA’s Exceptional Service medal.

Donald Duane Smith,  61, passed Aug 28.  He graduated Magna Cum Laude & high honors from NASA’s Engineering Technician Apprentice Program.  He enjoyed many years working & making friends at both NASA & COSTCO.  Donald also served 6 years in the Army National Guard. 

Aug 2022

 Thomas “Dale” Bess, 86, passed June 17, 2022.   Dale worked 44 years at NASA Langley Research Center and was passionate about helping those in need through the Peninsula Rescue Mission.

Carol Haas Satterwhite, 84, of Yorktown passed away June 22, 2022.  She retired from NASA Langley Research Center. and loved spending time with her family, especially her grandchildren, doing sewing and all kinds of needlework as well as gardening.

Richard H. “Pete” Petersen of La Jolla, California and more recently of Greenville, South Carolina, 87,  passed June 18, 2022.  The Air Force called him to active duty upon graduation from Cal Tech in1957, and assigned him to the NACA Ames Research Center as a Research Engineer.  After completing his Air Force obligation he became a NASA employee.  Most of Pete’s early career at NASA was focused on theoretical and experimental aerodynamics, particularly in the supersonic and hypersonic speed ranges.   He did research on the Mercury capsule and the XB-70 Valkyrie Mach 3 bomber. Pete held various leadership positions at NASA Ames and in 1980, he became Deputy Center Director at Langley Research Center.  He subsequently served as LaRC Center Director from 1985 to 1991.  Pete retired from NASA Headquarters in 1993 with 36 years of service as Associate Administrator for the Office of Aeronautics and Space Technology (OAST). 

Peggy Brooks Rollins, 89, passed June 27, 2022.  Peggy had a 32 year career at NASA Langley, but her most cherished role was that of wife and mother. She always “put family first” and was an “all in” mom cheering at softball games, working with the Girl Scouts, and being an ardent Poquoson High School “band booster”

John Logan (Jack) Hudson, Jr., 91, of Hampton, Virginia passed at the end of June 2022.  Jack began work at the NACA by completing the NACA apprentice program with honors as an instrument designer. After further courses, he received his mechanical engineer rating.  Jack retired in 1987 after 37 years of service to the NACA and NASA.

Thomas David Norum, 78, passed` June 28, 2022.  Tom was the senior research on the LaRC Jet Noise Team for several years before his retirement.  Tom had a thorough knowledge of jet noise source mechanisms, sound propagation through high temperature jets, as well as of instrumentation and data analysis techniques to define jet physics.  Tom was a long-time commissioner for the LaRC Softball League and umpired may softball games.  He also was a big volunteer for the annual Langley Activities Association Carnival.  He retired in 2008 from NASA as a Research Engineer from the Aeroacoustics Branch after 35 years of service.

Richard Everett “Dick” Davis, 84, of Newport News, VA, passed June 27.  In 1964, Dick began his distinguished 40+-year career as an Aerospace Scientist with Langley Research Center. One of his greatest joys at NASA was having the opportunity to speak to school children about space exploration, astronomy, the solar system, and NASA.  For many years, he represented NASA as a judge at local and regional science fairs.  Dick was a member of the LifeLong Learning Society (LLS) for many years and taught many classes for the program.  Dick was also very active in the Langley Alumni Association being an officer and board member.

John Stephen “Jack” Preisser, 81, of Williamsburg, VA passed July 7.  Jack began his LaRC career in 1964.  As a researcher, he performed experimental & analytical fundamental aeroacoustics & aircraft noise work.  He was author & coauthor of 50+ research articles & made presentations at conferences both in the U. S. & abroad.  For the last 11 years of his career, he served as Head of the Aeroacoustics Branch retiring in 2000.  In addition to his NASA career, Jack was an adjunct mathematics instructor at Thomas Nelson Community College from 1974 to 1989

Charles James “CJ” Shoemaker, 88, passe July 15.  CJ graduated from West Virginia University & retired from a career at LaRC as a Technology Transfer Officer. 

Charles (Charlie) Lawrence Ruhlin, 95, passed July 20.  Charlie joined the Navy at 17 & completed his education at the University of VA & Georgia Tech to become a LaRC aeronautical engineer. 

Donald Riley, 95, passed July 23, 2022.  He served in the Navy in World War II, then graduated with a Masters in Aeronautical Engineering from Penn State in 1949.  Don was a career NASA engineer contributing research & authoring more than forty research studies and publications in both aviation and space exploration.   One of the highlights of his career was working with the astronauts on docking simulations for the Gemini Space Program.  After his retirement in 1995, he became a Distinguished Research Associate with NASA and continued his research until he was 90.  Don loved his work and could often be found sharing his enthusiasm for the space program with unsuspecting acquaintances asking them if they knew how Mercury Boulevard got its name or how many astronauts walked on the moon.

Francis J. Capone, 84, passed July 27, 2022.  He graduated at the top of his class from Boston University where he earned a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering. After graduation in 1959 he was employed as a Research Engineer at Langley Research Center.  He was involved in research projects aimed at improving primarily military aircraft performance. While working as a Research Engineer in the Propulsion Aerodynamics Branch, he was known for his work in thrust vectoring, propulsion induced effects, and propulsion simulation test techniques. He received the Exceptional Service Medal and was the author or coauthor of over 100 technical reports

Archie Norton, 95, passe Aug 6, 2022.  He began working at Newport News Shipbuilding in 1951 and later accepted a position with NACA  as a wind tunnel technician testing models of early supersonic aircraft and the space shuttle before retiring in 1987.  He was a past member of the Tidewater Flying Club and an avid boater.

Carrie Kathryn Creedon, 57, of Hampton, Virginia passed Aug 5, 2022.  While attending MSU, Carrie was a Co-op student at NASA Langley Research Center and joined Langley full-time in 1982. She then received a Master’s degrees in Computer Science from the University of Colorado and Engineering Management from ODU. Carrie held a variety of research, project & program management positions during her career, most notably managing the Aviation Safety Program and as a Technical Assistant in the Flight Systems Directorate Office. Carrie’s numerous awards include: Who’s Who in American Women and two different NASA LaRC “Turning Goals into Reality” awards. Carrie loved being with her friends, Mississippi State sports, the Red Sox, playing cards & board games, travel, and reading.  She retired in 2010.  She was the wife of former LaRC director Jerry Creedon.

June 2022

Carolyn LeDuc, 85, passed May 2022.  She graduated from Old Dominion University with a masters degree in physics & mathematics.  On graduation she joined NASA, where she remained until retirement.

Thomas E. Saunders, 74, passed May 12, 2022 at home in Hampton VA.  He worked at NASA for over 30 years. Tom was a member of the Hampton Roads Ship Model Society and was their clerk & newsletter editor for over 25 years.

Dr. Edwin C. Foudriat, 94, passed May 21, 2022.  Since 2008 he resided in The Chesapeake, Newport News.  He was employed at LaRC as an electrical engineer & computer scientist from 1956-1967 & 1974-1987 and between was a professor at Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI.  Edwin received a PhD. in Electrical Engineering from Ohio State University in 1966. After retiring he taught at ODU. During his career, he co-authored hundreds of research papers. His academic achievements led to invitations to present papers at computer conferences worldwide.

Charles D. Trescot Jr., 95, of Hampton, Virginia passed May 21, 2022.  He always loved for airplanes & flying and subsequently got his pilot license.  He received a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering-Aeronautical Option degree from NC State.  Charlie joined NACA (NASA) in 1951 as an Aeronautical Research Scientist, and retired with 35 years of service.  He was a founding member of the Tidewater Flying Club and served as the secretary for 25 years.

Lewis Beryl Thurston, Jr, 97, passed May 28, 2022.  He moved to the Peninsula from Portage, Ohio as a young man to work at the Ft. Eustis Army Hospital.  Later, he joined NACA Langley, in Hampton, VA.  While working at NASA he attended William and Mary,  graduating with an engineering degree.  He worked on many NASA projects including  development of a heat shield to protect astronauts during reentry. 

Dr. George Pezdirtz, 88, Lake Barrington, IL passed May 25, 2022.  As Chief Chemist of Langley’s Materials Division he was a distinguished scientist in both chemical & materials research.  George left Langley for an invited short stay at Princeton University’s Institute of Advance Study on an Intergovernmental Science Exchange Program and remained on their staff for many years.

Gim Shek Ng, 83, passed May 14, 2022 in Yorktown, VA.  He graduatedAeronautical Engineer from the University of Alabama, worked at the Boeing Company and retired from NASA Langley where he worked on the Space Shuttle. 

William E. Stoney, Jr, 96, passed May 28, 2022 in Ashburn, VA. After service as a WWII airplane mechanic, William graduated from MIT and joined NACA in 1949.  His group of engineers were renowned for their work on pilotless aircraft and rocket technology. He was program manager for the solid-propellant Scout rocket.  In the 1960’s he was became chief of advanced space vehicle concepts at NASA Headquarters.  In 1969, he received the NASA Exceptional Service Medal for his work on the Apollo mission.

Samuel Arthur McPherson, II, 77 of Davenport, FL passed April 16, 2022.  On receiving a mathematics degree in 1966, he joined Newport News Shipyard & also taught mathematics as a TNCC adjunct professor.  In 1970 he took a contract job at NASA which soon led to a full-time NASA position.  He retired  with 35 years of NASA service.

May 2022

Sam Apperson, 56, died in March while doing what he loved best, providing computer security services to Langley organizations. He had worked for numerous Langley IT contractors for 25 years and was the consummate professional.

Dorothy Taylor Howell, 85, passed April 27, 2022, at her home in Seaford.  Dorothy graduated from the Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, now the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, with a degree in mathematics. After graduation, she joined NACA, now NASA, retiring in 1994.

Duncan Fairlie, 61, of Williamsburg, VA, passed April 27, 2022.  He joined NASA Langley Research Center as a research scientist in 1987 where he remained until his retirement in 2021. While at NASA he also studied at Harvard University and was awarded a Ph.D. in Earth and Planetary Science in 2009.  During his career he conducted research into atmospheric chemistry & dynamics using a combination of models and measurements from satellite, airborne, and ground-based instruments. He participated in field campaigns to help understand atmospheric ozone loss, global air pollution & volcanic aerosols.

Mary Alice Revere Woerner, 85, of Virginia Beach passed May 5, 2022.  She began her career in computing at the NACA, retiring from NASA with 37 years of service. She worked to develop computer data processing systems for many scientific space launch satellites & instruments. For her work on the Data Processing System for the Nation’s first Global Climate Experiment in Space, she received three NASA Group Achievement Awards. Ultimately, she became the supervisor of her computing unit.

April 2022

Thomas Maxwell Walker, of Hayes, passed March 8, 2022, at age 56.   He graduated from Newport News Shipyard Apprentice School receiving a machinist diploma. & joined NASA where he retired in July 2021. 

Dr. James “Jim” Arthur Martin, of Huntington Beach passed away on March 11, 2022 at the age of 77.  Jim earned a Masters from MIT and a from PhD at George Washington University and for 50 years he worked on solving problems in the field of aerospace engineering at NASA, the University of Alabama, and Boeing.  Jim was a member of the Vehicle Analysis Branch in the Space Systems Division at LaRC from 1970-1990.  His work in the branch was a concentration on the propulsion systems, evaluating the thrust levels provided by new fuels and engine concepts.  He served as an Editor for the Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets (JSR) and even after retirement was a part of the Space Propulsion Synergy Team (SPST) where he was still active at the time of his death.   

Barry E. Golembiewski passed March 19, 2022 at the age of 79.  He retired from a Langley AFB career in Meteorology in Dec 1982 as a Senior Master Sergeant (E-8) to join NASA LaRC as a contractor Meteorologist for 25 years retiring in Aug 2007. He provided weather support toLaRC’s Safety Office, Flight Service Office & aircraft research projects.

March 2022

Robert A. Kudlinski, 59, of Hampton, VA passed July 21, 2021.  He previously worked in the Data Analysis & Imaging Branch in B1298.

F. Dolan Clontz, 89, passed Feb 19, 2022.   He graduated from the NACA Apprentice School as an Electrician & retired in 1988 from NASA as an Electrical Supervisor with 37 years combined federal service.

Virginia Hall “Genny” Jones, 85, passed Feb 2022.  She retired as Director of Occupational Health at NASA after decades of service. She attended to some of our first astronauts & bravest pilots, one  who took her up in a T-38 jet. 

Tommy Curtis Steele, 85, passed Dec 25, 2021. Tommy was a Kentucky native & Yorktown resident for 55 years. He retired from NASA after 38 years of service.

George Marion Ware, 88, passed Feb 16, 2022.  George was accepted into the NACA COOP program & worked his way through college earning a BS in Aeronautical Engineering.  He began work at LaRC in 1958 when it was the NACA & retired in 1995. He was a founding members of Vehicle Analysis Branch in 1972 & worked in the VAB for 23 years.  During his NASA service, some of his most notable contributions were for the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo & Space Shuttle programs. Of his many awards he was proudest of his “Silver Snoopy Award”, for working on astronaut safety systems. It was presented to him by Astronauts Robert Crippen & John Young. 

Kenneth”Dick”Yenni, 87, passed Feb 23, 2022.  He joined LaRC in 1962 & shortly thereafter became a Research Pilot at LaRC.  He also attended the US Naval Test Pilot School.  He received many other awards during his 32 years of distinguished service at LaRC.  In 2011 he was inducted into the Virginia Aeronautical Historical Society Hall of Fame.

Kenneth Sutton, 83, passed Feb 7, 2022.  Ken began work at LaRC in 1962 & retired in 2002 after 40 years of service. He received the NASA Exceptional Engineering Achievement Medal for leadership & personal technical contributions in the field of aerothermodynamics for space transportation & planetary entry vehicles.

February 2022

Russell Nicholas Hopko, 100, passed  Jan 11, 2022.  He served in the US Army Signal Corps & was a WWII veteran after which he was a materials engineer at NASA Langley, retiring with 33 years of service.

Willis Eugene Hunt, Sr, 93, passed in Poquoson Jan 12, 2022.  He served in the United States Army & began his NACA/NASA career to work on many challenging projects in the Instrument Research & Flight Electronics Divisions.

Guy Ware Mugler, 83, passed Jan 11, 2022.  He served 3 years in the US Army & 30+ years in Civil Service at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Fort Eustis & the Corp of Engineers at Fort Monroe. After retirement he worked in maintenance at NASA.

Dr. William H. Michael, Jr., Ph.D., 95, of Newport News, passed Jan 15, 2022.  Bill graduated from Princeton University in 1948 with a B.S. degree in Aeronautical Engineering. This led to a long & decorated career with NASA and the National Academy of Sciences.  He ultimately earned his Ph.D. in Physics from Princeton University.  As a “Rocket Scientist” he was instrumental in the Lunar Orbiter Project to map sites on the moon for future Apollo missions. Another career highlight was successfully leading the communications team for the Viking Mission to Mars that searched for signs of life & sent back images from the Red Planet.

Jerome Thomas Foughner, Jr., 86,  passed Jan 12, 2022.  Tom, a University of Georgia grad, moved to Hampton to work at NACA as an aerospace engineer retiring from NASA in 1998.

Charles P. Blankenship, 83, passed Jan 21, 2022.  He earned BS & MS degrees in Metallurgical Engineering.  He served as a U.S. Air Force commissioned officer before starting his NASA career at Lewis Research Center.  In 1980, he transferred to Langley Research Center as Chief of the Materials Division. In 1983, he was appointed Langley’s Director for Structures.  In 1994, he served as Deputy Director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.  He returned to Langley in 1996 and served as the Agency Manager for NASA’s Subsonic Aircraft Technology Program.  After retiring from NASA in 1997, he served as a technology consultant to industry and several government agencies. He served as the Director of the Technology Commercialization Center, Inc. in Hampton, Va., from 2000-2003.  He received several prestigious awards (see full obituary)..

Harold Wright Ayres, 100, passed Jan 21, 2022.  Harold enlisted in the US Navy, serving on US LST280 & in June, 1944 participated in the D-Day Normandy invasion.  After the war, he re-entered Newport News Shipyard Apprentice School, graduated in 1947 & worked several years as a machinist at Newport News Shipbuilding. In 1953, Harold joined NACA & later NASA from where he retired in 1980 as Branch Head of Instrument Research & Development.

January 2022

John Lincoln Shipley, 85, of Yorktown, Virginia passed Oct 7, 2021.  In 1967, he began working for the Department of the Army at the U.S. Army Aviation Material Laboratories located at Fort Eustis, VA as an Aerospace Engineer and later at Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA where he served as Chief of the Army Research group. In 1981, he returned to Fort Eustis where he served as the Deputy Director of the Aviation Applied Technology Directorate.

Jerry Michael Allen, 81, of Spindale, NC passed Nov 17, 2021.  He worked as an aeronautical engineer at the Langley Research Center until his retirement.  In 2018 he moved from Newport News to Rutherford county, NC.

Patricia Ann Chesser Sheehan, 65, of Hayes, VA, passed Nov 24, 2021.  Patty attended Frostburg College (now State University) and worked in several industries during her career including NASA, Hampton University, and Virginia Marine Resources Commission.

Salvatore Julius Bavuso, 81 of Yorktown, VA passed Dec 1, 2021.  He began work at the Langley Research Center in 1964. He was a pioneer in the development of computer reliability analysis, and worked on the Viking Mars Lander.

James Arthur Keaton, Sr., 94, of Hampton, VA, passed Nov 29, 2021.  He retired from the U.S. Army in 1970 and later from NASA in the early 1990s.

Joseph Ross Phillips, 79, passed Dec 15, 2021. Ross was a veteran of the Air Force and retired from NASA as a mechanical engineer with over 36 years of service. 

William (Bill) Parady, 88, passed Dec 22, 2021.  At 19, Bill joined the Air Force and served honorably during the Korean War. After his tour, he found a home at NASA Langley, where he loved his job and the people he worked with for 35 years.  He was awarded NASA’s Exceptional Service Medal, forvhis dedication to and direct involvement in the instrumentation design and planning phases of most of the major flight programs conducted at NASA-Langley Research Center. 

Bertram Donald Aaron, 99, of Williamsburg passed Dec 31 2021.  He attained the rank of Captain in the US Army in the Pacific theater during WWII, eventually leading to positions as Aeronautical Research Scientist at NACA and then as an engineer for the US Army Signal Corps where he received the Commanders Medal for his service to national defense.

Dr. Edward (Carson) Yates, Jr. passed away Dec 31, 2021. Carson worked in the Interdisciplinary Research Office of the Structural Dynamics Division at LaRC.  He did research in aerodynamic flutter and was lead author of a 1982 Technical Memorandum on flutter characteristics of several wings.   No on-line obituary is available for Carson.

October 2021

Ruth”Boots” McAlexander White, 92,  passed Sept. 17, 2021.  She took her “dream” job at NACA (now NASA) sometime after 1949.

Jon L. Van Cleave, 83, passed Sept. 28, 2021 in Naples, Florida.  Jon began his 30 year career at NASA in June 1964 as an engineer on the Scout Missile Project assigned to Vandenberg AFB, CA. He became head of Langley’s Resident Engineering Management Office at Dallas, TX June 1968, head of the Scout Project Reliability and Quality Control Office at Langley, Virginia in April 1974 and deputy manager of the Scout Project Office from June 1980 until he was named manager Jan. 1988.  He retired in 1994.

September 2021

LTC (USA, Ret.) Stuart Flechner, 80, passed July 12, 2021.  Stu was an Aeronautical Engineer with NASA Langley Research Center for over 35 years, contributing to wind tunnel testing & research. He was facility manager at the 0.3m Transonic Cryogenic Tunnel (TCT) when he retired.  His volunteering included CERT (Citizens Emergency Response Team), CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), Peninsula Reads, Neighborhood Watch, Temple Sinai Brotherhood, Amateur Radio, Virginia Air & Space Museum and NARFE (National Active & Retired Federal Employees).

Sandra White Patrick, 77, passed July 11, 2021.  A lifelong Poquoson resident, initially employed at NASA, she left to pursue her best job, stay-at-home mom. She returned to NASA, LaRC in 1984 to work until her retirement, later providing care for her mom. 

Joseph Glen “Joe” Hudson, 90, passed July 13, 2021. He was born in Hilton Village in 1930 and lived there for 70 years. Joe was a graduate of the NASA Apprentice School. He worked with NASA, LaRC for 37 years.  Joe was an avid runner and golfer and he loved to read.

Frederick Roland Morrell, 88, passed July 14, 2021.  Fred was born in Port Chester, New York.  After high school graduation Fred served for two years in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.  Fred then completed a degree in engineering at the University of Connecticut in 1961.  Fred worked at NASA for 40 years retiring in 2001.  He later said, “I missed it as soon as I walked out the door.” After retirement he worked for several years at a technology consulting firm.  Fred performed service in the Gideons International from the late 1960’s until late 2020.  He participated in prison ministry and placing Bibles in hotel and motel rooms.

Warner Wise Smith, Jr., 84, of Grafton passed July 14, 2021. Warner was born in Cheriton, VA on the Eastern Shore.  Warner was a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard, serving at the Chincoteague Coast Guard Station as an electrician. He worked at the NASA Langley Research Center for 30 years as an electrician, retiring in Oct. 1991. 

Dr. Tom Brooks, 77, passed July 19, 2021 in Gainesville, Florida. Tom was a veteran of the U.S. Army, joined NASA Langley in 1974 and retired in 2015.  He was a pillar of the Aeroacoustics Branch.  He wrote many well referenced papers, was a Fellow of AIAA, a Fellow of the American Helicopter Society (now Vertical Flight Society), an AIAA Aeroacoustics Award winner, an H. J. E. Reid Award winner (for best journal article at NASA Langley in 2007), and was awarded the NASA Distinguished Service Medal in 2014 (the highest award bestowed by NASA).  But many of us also knew Tom as a mentor and a friend, celebrating his successes with him & enjoying his hallway discussions on his occasional visits back to B1208 after his retirement.

William C. “Bill” Henley Jr., 90, passed July 20, 2021.  He served in the Air Force and attended the University of Alaska and Old Dominion University. He was the Class Speaker when he graduated from the NASA Langley Apprentice School. He was employed as an Engineering Technician until his retirement from NASA LaRC in 1987.  Bill was a volunteer Fireman and a Life Member in the Masons, Shriners, and Eastern Star.

Clarence “Buddy” Carlyle Poe, Jr. , 82, passed July 24, 2021.  He graduated from Virginia Tech in 1961 with an engineering degree, accepting a job with Boeing in Seattle. After publishing his Boeing research in 1966 he was recruited to the Apollo Program at LaRC.  Much of his research, in fracture and fatigue and composites, contributed to many of the successful Apollo missions and the Space Shuttle. Buddy received his MS degree in Engineering Science and Mechanics from Virginia Tech in 1969. During his 33-year career with NASA, he acquired numerous awards for his research and contributions and was the first recipient of the H.J.E. Reid Award.  One of his greatest joys while working at LRC was mentoring engineering interns from Virginia Tech.  Buddy retired from LaRC in 1999. He received his Professional Engineering License and went to work for his son-in-law at Bay Electric Co. for 15 years before fully retiring.

Donald L. Ewton, 85, of Newport News, Virginia, passed Aug 4, 2021.  Donald worked for NASA Langley Research Center for 34 years after serving in the United States Air Force. Donald was an avid golfer. He was a member of Yorkminster Presbyterian Church in Yorktown, VA, where he served as a deacon and an elder. 

Richard”Dick” H. Couch, 80, of Mathews, Virginia passed Aug 1, 2021.  A 1962 University of Miami EE graduate, he joined NASA Langley Research Center in 1962.  He retired in 2003 as the project manager of the 757 Aft Flight Deck Project. He holds 3 U.S. Patents for contributions to aircraft & spaceflight activities supporting the NASA mission. He received the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, the Manned Flight Awareness Award and the Silver Snoopy.

Neil Andrew Holmberg, 89, passed Aug 3, 2021. He was an aerospace engineer at NASA, LaRC for 39 years and won an Exceptional Service Medal for his work on the Viking mission.  He studied EE at the University of Washington and did graduate studies at UCLA and MIT. 

Richard E. “Dick” Campbell, 85, passed Aug 12, 2021,   Dick was born in Warsaw, Indiana.  Dick joined the Air Force after graduating from high school in 1954 where he served proudly for two years.  He graduated from Purdue University in 1963 with a degree in electrical engineering.  Dick then joined NASA Langley Research Center for the next 35 years, until his retirement in 2001. 

Douglas Robert Lord, 95, passed Aug 20, 2021.  He received his Bachelor of Aeronautical Engineering Degree from RPI and pursued graduate studies in aerodynamics at the University of Michigan.  In 1947, he accepted a position as an Aeronautical Research Scientist at the NACA Langley Research Center, where, for 12 years, he conducted wind tunnel tests of missile & aircraft controls at high subsonic speeds and at Mach numbers of 2, 4 & 6. (included tests of the Mercury capsule). In 1960, NASA recommended him for a White House Staff position, where he served as a technical assistant to the science advisors of Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy.  He left the White House in 1962 to join the Office of Manned Spaceflight at NASA Headquarters, where for the next decade he directed studies of future manned missions which led to the Apollo lunar landings & Skylab missions in Earth orbit. In 1973, he became Director of NASA’s Spacelab Program.  He was awarded both the Exceptional Service Medal and the Medal for Outstanding Leadership by NASA.   He retired from NASA in 1980.

Sandra S. Chaney, 80, passed on Aug 17, 2021. Before moving to Virginia Beach, she was a long-time resident of Poquoson. Sandra graduated from Aiken High School in 1959 where she was voted “Most Athletic” in her senior year. After moving to Newport News, Sandra worked at Nachman’s Department store before taking a job at NASA. She worked on the Viking Project and in Systems Engineering & Operations (SE&O).  She was working as secretary in the Office of Education at LaRC at the time of her retirement in 2005.

Susan Warder Bostic, 83, passed Aug 20, 2021 at home. Susan was born in Geneva, NY. She graduated from Geneva High School and attended Mary Washington College. She received her BS degree from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and continued graduate work at GWU, ODU, CNU and a summer session at MIT.  She worked as a Computer Engineer at NASA Langley Research Center. Her research on Experimental Multiple Processors & large-scale problems in Mathematics was published In Technical Journals. 

Chris Gross, 83, passed Aug 25th, 2021.  He graduated from North Carolina State University in 1962 with an undergraduate degree in Nuclear Engineering and then went to work at LaRC as a researcher.  At LaRC he received many awards, commendations, and patents.  His work gave him the opportunity to mentor students, many of whom became lifelong friends. During his tenure at NASA, Chris received a Master’s in Physics from the College of William and Mary.  In 1979, Chris left NASA to become a founding partner of Pressure Systems Inc. This enabled him to manufacture commercial instrumentation based on his NASA inventions and patents. 

Martin T. Baxter, 88, passed Aug 29, 2021.  He joined the Air Force in 1953.  While in the Air Force he won a national Defense Service medal and Good Conduct medal. After the Air Force, he joined NASA, LaRC. He retired as Chief of Aircraft Maintenance in 1988 after 35 years. He specialized in helicopters and aircraft you can see in the Smithsonian Institute and on Mercury Boulevard. 

Charlton “Charlie” Wyant Mann, 86,  passed Aug 24, 2021.  He served in the U.S. Army with the 3rd Armored Division from 1955-57 before his long career at NASA Langley as Mechanical Engineering Technician from 1962 until his 1994 retirement. He worked on the Mercury capsule and the moon landing project. Charlie was an innovator. There was no task too complicated for him. He took pride in his NASA work and won awards and earned a patent for an optical tool. 

Shelly Baron passed Aug 30, 2021. Shelly worked in the Simulation Branch then headed by Charlie Valade. Shelly was living with his wife Doris in Lexington, Massachusetts.

Mark Flockhart,  93, passed Sept 2, 2021.   He retired from the USAF as a Chief Master Sergeant. He was veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam. On USAF retirement he operated the cyclotron at William & Mary College, and then joined NASA Langley receiving 2 commendations for his work on the 1st Space Shuttle tiles.  He was a Langley AFB Hospital volunteer for 37+ years.

Alton Parker Mayo 93,  passed Sept 4, 2021. He was born in Greenville, NC, and was a resident of Tidewater, Va. for 70 years. Alton received the BS in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina State University, the Master of Business Administration from George Washington University, and the MS in Aeronautical Engineering, and the PhD in Aerospace Engineering from Virginia Tech. His dissertation studied orbital mechanics. He spent his entire career at the NACA and NASA Langley, from which he retired in 1984. Among others, his orbital calculations enabled the Mercury mission, which accomplished the first manned space flight, the Lunar Orbiter mission, which mapped the moon in preparation for manned landings, the Viking mission, which accomplished the first Mars landing and the Planetary Grand Tour which became the Voyager mission, whose spacecraft is now the furthest distant man-made object in the universe.

Otis Steele Childress, Jr. passed September 1, 2021. He received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1962. He was employed at Newport News Shipyard in 1962; and NASA from 1963-1992. He also served in the Air National Guard.

Wilmer Handy Reed III (Bill), 95, passed Aug 26, 2021 in Destin, Florida.  He became a Chief Scientist at NASA contributing 28 Global Patents, publishing 40 Scientific Articles that contributed to the Apollo, Saturn 5 Rocket, and early Space Shuttle programs. He specialized in Aeroelacticity and Load analysis, creating engineering solutions that made super sonic flight and space exploration possible and more efficient, by streamlining and redesigning rocket and wing configurations and damping vibration (flutter). He earned NASA’s career Exceptional Service Medal and 8 NASA Special Achievement Awards  He earned his B.S. in Aeronautical Engineering at Auburn and was then hired by the NACA at Langley Research Center as an Aeronautical Research Engineer in 1948.  He earned a Masters of Science in Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Virginia in 1953.  He retired from NASA in 1982 and then worked as a scientist, consultant and speaker for Dynamic Engineering Inc. where he invented the “Flutter Exciter” making commercial and military aircraft more efficient and safe.  Bill was then a Representative Engineer for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) until his retirement in 1998. His professional peers awarded him 3 AIAA Engineer of the Year Awards from 1995-1997, and in 2000 Engineer of the Year by the Penninsula Engineers Council for which he was later elected vice  president.  He gave back to his community teaching students in robotics and leading the White Pelican Project: advising students from Hampton area high schools in 1993. Collectively, they created the world’s largest paper airplane which was hung in the Virginia Air & Space Museum.  It was in the Guinness Book of World records then.

July 2021

 Joe Charles Gowdey, 85,  passed May 31, 2021  He initially worked at the Newport News Shipyard on the nuclear-powered USS Enterprise and took part in its commissioning and sea trials. From there he was hired by NASA and worked on the Scout Mission and the first Mars Lander, of which he was proud to say had his signature aboard.  He he took leave from NASA to become a member of the Godspeed crew on its 1985 voyage across the Atlantic, an engineless sailing vessel sailing from England to Virginia.  Prior to embarking on the voyage, he had the honor to guide a tour of the ship to the late HRH Prince Phillip. He retired in early 1990’s and followed his many passions, one being a HAM Radio Operator covering The Special Olympics and the 2000 computer panic.

Vivian Schultz Roberts Smith, 90, of Grafton passed June 11, 2021.  She was a lifelong Peninsula resident and worked as a secretary at the NASA Langley Research Center during the 1970s and ran a successful catering business.

Horace E. C. Bellamy, 97, passed June 17, 2021.  Horace was born and raised in Toronto, Canada and graduated from the University of Toronto.  He moved to the United States in 1951, graduated from Hampton Institute and retired from NASA in 1987 after 25 years of civil service.

Augustine Warner Robins of Yorktown passed Mar 22, 2020.  He grew up on his family’s dairy farm adjacent to Langley Field and was able to see everything from balloonists to dirigibles to biplanes flying overhead.  After serving as a B-17 pilot in WWII, he attended Virginia Tech where he earned a degree in Aeronautical Engineering. After graduation in 1949 he joined NACA/NASA at Langley Field in Hampton. He retired in 1980 as Assistant Head of the Supersonics Aerodynamics Branch. Among his many accomplishments was his role as lead author on a NASA paper on supersonic mechanics which has been credited as “the Bible on supersonics.” He was involved in the technical analysis that led to the 747-Orbiter Piggyback Concept used to transport the space shuttle orbiter. After retirement, he remained a consultant to NASA via a employee/subcontractor relationship to Kentron Aerospace Technologies Division’s Planning Research Corporation until 1986. He was inducted into the Virginia Tech Academy of Engineering Excellence in 2011.

Kenneth Alfred Seals, 87, of Lynchburg, VA passed June 21, 2021.  He attended Randolph-Macon College, the NASA Apprentice School and Old Dominion University.  He retired from NASA in 1989 after 34 years of service as an Aerospace Engineering Technician that included working on the lunar landing module & stealth bomber.  He was also owner of S & S Archery.

June 2021

Arlene Mitchell, 85, passed May 10, 2021. She was born in Denver, CO and retired from NASA.

Joseph H. Goad, Jr. passed Oct, 2020 and gave his body to science. Joe was an electro-optical engineer in Instrument Research Division. He received a BSEE from the University of Tennessee and received a MS in Optics from Syracuse University.

Dr. Philip Brent Bogert passed May 24.  Dr. Bogert was born in Park Ridge, NJ, and attended Lafayette College in Easton, PA, graduating with a B.S. in Civil Engineering. He received his M.S. degree in Structures from Columbia University, an M.S. degree in Solid Mechanics at George Washington University, and a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering at North Carolina State University.  He began his work as a civil engineer in the nuclear power industry, but spent the bulk of his career, more than thirty years, as an aerospace engineer at LaRC, developing, designing, and analyzing structures for the aerospace industry and managing aerospace research projects. He especially enjoyed mentoring others new to the aerospace field. He retired in 2018.

Lloyd Gaylord Wilson, 73, of Mathews died unexpectedly May 22, 2021.  Lloyd served in the US Air Force as an Airborne Communications Specialist from 1969 to 1973. Following his military service, he spent the majority of his career as a Sr Research Technician at Langley Research Center. One of his favorite roles during his 3 decades was as mentor to students of The Virginia Governor’s School.  Prior to his LaRC career, he worked as a Sr Nuclear Reactor Control Technician at Newport News Shipbuilding, & as a Monorail Electronics Technician at Busch Gardens.

John Witherspoon, 93, of Hampton, passed May 31, 2021.  He was born in Lynchburg, VA, graduated from Davidson College, and earned a master’s degree from George Washington University. He served in the Air Force and then had a 40 year career at LaRC.  John was an active member of the Hampton Yacht Club. He volunteered at the Virginia Air and Space Center in Hampton, where he served as a docent since its inception.  He was proud of his ancestry and being a member of the Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence.

May 2021

Dick Moore Royster, 84, passed Feb 18, 2021.   Dick was born in Pennington Gap, VA, attended Davis  & Elkins College where he received his BS in engineering.  In 1957 he joined LaRC working 38 years as a metallurgic engineer until retiring.  In 2017 Dick moved to Williamsburg.

Mirjam “Mit” Tuovila, 95, passed March 20, 2021.  She received a degree in Physics with a math minor from Wilson College, Pennsylvania, in June 1947 and worked briefly at NASA (then NACA), Langley Field as a “computer” performing calculations of supersonic wind tunnel research data used to develop wing designs for supersonic aircraft. She was well-known for her athleticism, competing in triathalons into her late 80s and for her adventurous spirit, bicycling half way across the U.S. during the 1976 Bikecentennial and sailing with her husband and friends across the Atlantic Ocean, twice. A long time resident of Yorktown, she served as a water safety instructor with the Red Cross for nearly 40 years, teaching numerous children and adults how to swim.

Louie Edward “Eddie” Williams, 87, passed Apr 8, 2021. Eddie was a life-long Hampton resident.  Eddie received his degree in Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1958.  He began a career at NASA in 1961 where he worked on several impactful projects such as Project Fire, the Viking Project, and the 8-Foot High Temperature Tunnel Modification Project before retiring in 1994. While at NASA he received several distinguishing awards such as an Apollo Achievement Award, two Exceptional Service Medal Awards for his work on the National Transonic Facility.  He has been described by colleagues as a “truly outstanding engineer.”  He loved sail boat racing and help build a fiberglass model of the Hampton One Design.  He holds a unique place in the CBYRA (Chesapeake Bay Yacht Racing Association) sailing community as a boat builder, sailmaker, and many-time winner of the Hampton One Class Championship Regatta. He is an iconic legend in Chesapeake Bay sailboat racing.  Due to his many sail boat wins he was known in the sailing community as “Fast Eddie”.

Thomas Hamilton King, 99, passed away April 30, 2021. He was born in the District of Columbia.  Tom moved to Hampton, VA in 1941 to attend the NACA Apprentice School and later began his career as a model builder. He advanced to become Supervisor of the NASA Model Shop working on such projects as the Skylab mission for which he received a certificate of achievement for his “excellence in the many critical tasks that made the first Skylab mission possible.”  The Skylab program was the beginning of the International space station. He also worked with renowned aeronautical researchers on such programs as the supercritical airfoil and the “coke bottle” fuselage shape. Tom also made models for the Apollo 11 Mission to the moon.  He retired in January, 1980 after more than 38 years of dedicated service.

Rodney Arlen Smith, 89, passed May 3, 2021. Rodney was born in Wayne County, NC, and moved to Hampton soon after.  He graduated from Hampton High School in 1949, enlisting in the U.S. Marines in 1950. After service to his country, he graduated from the NASA Apprentice School as an Electrician in 1961, retiring as a Quality Assurance Specialist in 1989 after 35 years of service. 

April 2021

Samuel J. Scott, Sr., 82, passed Mar 5, 2021, in Hampton, VA.  Sam worked at NASA LaRC from 1962-1985 as an engineer specializing in high temperature strain and materials. Hired “sight unseen” after graduating with a BS in ME from the Univ. of Pittsburgh, he was one of the 1st 4 Black engineers hired in 1962 by NASA Langley during the Space Race. He later worked at Newport News Shipbuilding. Sam retired from the City of Newport News as Chief Engineer for the Newport News Housing Authority in 2001.

Roy Vincent Harris, Jr., 85, of Williamsburg, Virginia, passed Mar 18, 2021. In 1958, Roy graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in aeronautical engineering and immediately joined the staff of the Langley Research Center (then, NACA) as a research engineer. In 1959, he was called to active duty in the Air Force and assigned to NASA Langley. His first 15 years at NASA was in supersonic aerodynamic research. He was an early pioneer to use digital computers to solve practical aerodynamics problems. In 1964, he published the first computer code for calculating the supersonic wave drag of complete aircraft configurations. This code enabled, for the first time, the development of practical civil & military supersonic cruise aircraft. Advanced versions of this code are still in use today by aircraft designers. He produced the first computer-generated drawings of complex three-dimensional aircraft configurations. Roy retired from NASA in 1998, after nearly 40 years of service, as the Director of Aeronautics. After retiring, Roy was a consultant to industry & government and devoted much volunteer time as a technical advisor and Board member of the NASA Aeronautics Support Team.  In recognition of his contributions to the advancement of U.S. aeronautical technology, Roy received the AIAA Lawrence Sperry Award (1968), NASA Medal for Outstanding Leadership (1982), Presidential Rank Award of Distinguished Executive (1991), AIAA Reed Aeronautics Award (1998), NASA Distinguished Service Medal (1998), International Council of the Aeronautical Sciences (ICAS) Maurice Roy Medal for “outstanding contributions to international collaboration” (1998), and AIAA Distinguished Service Award (2015). He was inducted into the Georgia Tech Academy of Distinguished Engineering Alumni (1995), NASA Langley Hall of Honor (2017), and Academy of Richmond County Hall of Fame (2018).

John William Goslee, 95, passed at home in Newport News March 28, 2021.  Bill, as he was known to friends and family, was born in Portsmouth, Virginia, but grew up in Wilmington, Delaware.  In 1949, Bill graduated from Virginia Tech, majoring in aeronautical engineering.  In 1950, Bill went to work at the NACA Langley Research Center and then left in 1953 to work for several private companies in the aeronautical field before returning to LaRC in 1961. He was a veteran of World War II, having served with the Combat Engineers of the Third Army in the European theater. Bill received a Masters in Business Administration from the College of William & Mary in 1974.  While at LaRC, Bill worked on the Scout Project; the Lunar Landing Facility; the Lunar Orbiter Project; and the Viking Project to Mars, earning an inventor credit on several patents granted to the agency. Bill retired from LaRC in 1990 after 34 years of service.

Cornell Burcher 91,passed April 8, 2021. Cornell was born, raised, and spent much of his life in Poquoson, Virginia. He was a graduate of the University of Virginia in 1957 where he majored in psychology. Cornell spent 2 years in the Army during the Korean War. He then began a 32-year career at NASA’s Langley Research Center in various administrative roles. He was very civic-minded, having served 12 years on the Poquoson Planning Commission; followed by 2 terms as Mayor of Poquoson, 1988-1996. He also served as chairman of the advisory board for the Poquoson branch of Central Fidelity Bank. Once retired, Mr. Burcher thoroughly enjoyed volunteering at Peninsula Reads and both Riverside and Hampton Sentara Hospitals.

Allen Lee Fox, 93, passed April 5, 2021.  Allen spent most of his career at NASA, especially proud to be part of the beginning of US space missions. He coached Little League Baseball and loved simply watching games on a Saturday afternoon.  He was a veteran of World War II.  

Dr. John C. Lin passed at his home on April 9, 2021.  John was a respected member of the Flow Physics and Control Branch in the Research Directorate.  He joined NASA in 1978 and shortly thereafter joined the Viscous Flow Branch.  He spent the rest of his career in various incarnations of the branch.  Over the years, John was a very active member of the local AIAA chapter, the Tennis club, and the Langley Toastmasters.  Through these endeavors and his broad research portfolio, John touched many lives at Langley, industry, and academia.

March 2021

Odis Charles Pendergraft, Jr, 84, passed Mar 31, 2021.  He was born in NC & graduated from NC State.  He worked almost his whole career at the Langley Research Center 16-Foot Transonic Tunnel in the Propulsion Aerodynamics Branch (later the Component Integration Branch and Configuration Aerodynamics Branch).  In the early 60’s, he worked on the aerodynamics and propulsion interference of the Apollo escape rocket operation on the Apollo command module.

Margaret Dinkel Lightner Hurt, 99, passed Mar 4, 2021 in Newport News.  During WWII Margaret worked in DuPont near Waynesboro, VA.  After the war she moved to the Newport News following family already in the area. She began work at NASA, Hampton, VA in 1956 as a mathematician or “computer” for the 16-foot Wind Tunnel. She retired from NASA in 1983.  Margaret loved playing bridge, vacations in the mountains or beach, ballroom dancing, and painting.

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February 2021

Brenda Haight Simpson, 76, passed Feb 16, 2021.  She was a native and lifelong resident of Poquoson. Brenda graduated from Poquoson High School as valedictorian.  She was a proud member of Mensa – The High IQ Society. Brenda began her career at NASA in 1962 as a mathematician tasked with the complex calculations of space-flight trajectories. Six years later in 1968, she left NASA to be a stay-at-home mom.  Eventually, she returned to NASA as an IT Specialist and contributed 31 years before retiring.

Dick Moore Royster, 84, passed Feb 18, 2021. Dick was born in Pennington Gap, VA. He graduated from Elkins College with a BS in engineering. In 1957 he began work at NASA and worked there for 38 years as a metallurgic engineer.  Dick was a founding member Boy Scouts of America Troop 151 in Fox Hill.  He was also a member of Army & Navy Masonic Lodge and the United Methodist Men and loved playing golf.

Griffin Yeatman Anderson, 82, of Yorktown, passed Feb 19, 2021.  Griffin received a BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He worked for NASA for over 30 years, ultimately retiring as the Branch Head of the Hypersonic Propulsion Branch. During his career, he received much recognition for his engineering achievements in hypersonic propulsion including the Medal for Exceptional Engineering Achievement from NASA in 1988. Griffin’s key hobby was sailing, both recreational and racing. He was a member of the Hampton Yacht Club for many years. He enjoyed racing up and down the East Coast in his Melges 24.

Henry Lewis Livas, Jr. passed Feb 20, 2021.  He earned his B.S. Degree in Civil Engineering from Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA. He work at NASA Langley in the Facility Systems Engineering Division and retired in 1998 after serving 35 years in Government Service.  Henry previously worked at Fort Norfolk and the Naval Facilities Engineering Command.  He served as a 2nd Lt. in the U.S. Army Artillery.  At Phenix High School he was the number one ranking member of the first Phenix tennis team from 1954-1956.  In 1955 and 1956 he won the Virginia Interscholastic Association (VIA) Championship in singles and doubles. He and his partner, Billy Neilson won the American Tennis Association National Doubles and with Clara Henry in Texas he won the 1955 ATA National Junior Mixed Doubles Championship. He trained with Dr. Walter Johnson of Lynchburg who also trained Arthur Ashe.  One of Henry’s favorite stories was that he had a winning record (5-2) over Ashe, but that was when Ashe was eleven and Henry was sixteen.  He was inducted into the Hampton Roads African-American Sports Hall of Fame in 2009.

Saint Elmo Sterling, Jr., age 81 of Hayes, passed at home per his February 27th Daily Press obituary. Elmo graduated from NASA’s Apprentice School, retiring from NASA following 38 years of employment. He loved being retired.  He was an avid Turkey Hunter, fishing enthusiast, loved metal detecting on the beaches, a daily golf cart trip down to the creek observing the days catch but more than anything his family was first. 

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January 2021 

Robert David Turner, 83, passed Jan 1, 2021. Robert was a native Hampton and resided in Yorktown until his passing.   Robert worked at NASA Langley Research Center as an Electronic Engineer. He loved to golf and was known by his golf buddies as “Bob”.

LTC (Ret) Robert Letchworth, 83, of Poquoson passed Jan 11, 2021.  He attended The United States Military Academy, Class of 1959.  He served two tours in Vietnam, logging 1,172 hours of Combat flying.  He was awarded the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Bronze Star, 47 Air Medals with “V” for Valor and the Army Commendation Medal with “V”.  During his service in the Army, he continued his education and obtained three Master’s Degrees that would prepare him for his next career with NASA Langley Research Center. After retirement from the Army in 1980, he took part in many projects with NASA LaRC that would help improve the Army’s combat technologies. In 1999, he retired from NASA, totaling 43 years of federal service.

Glen William Sachse passed Jan 20, 2021.  Glen had received an undergraduate degree in Physics from VA Tech and a graduate degree from William and Mary.  Glen enjoyed a 50 year career at NASA Langley. In 1975 he began his pioneering work to measure the actual concentrations of natural and emitted gases in the atmosphere.  He was a very respected scientist who won many awards and published many technical articles. It was his privilege to use his instruments to measure gasses inside the cases of the Charters of Freedom.

MSgt (Ret) Charles H. “Chuck” Thatcher of Hampton, VA, formerly of Pawtucket, RI passed Jan 25, 2021 at the age of 83.  He was a highly decorated veteran who spent 26 years in the US Air Force as an aircraft mechanic and another 23 years as a civil service employee working for NASA Langley Research Center, spending most of his time working in the wind tunnels.  During his time with the Air Force, he proudly served three tours of duty in Viet Nam. 

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December 2020

Ronald Neil Jensen, age 87, passed at home Dec 17.  He was a 1955 graduate of the University of North Dakota with a BS in Mechanical Engineering.  Before joining NASA Langley, Ron worked at Dupont and as a civilian at Langley AFB.  At LaRC, Ron worked on air conditioning and utility projects and computer programs for effective energy use. He was assigned to solar projects during the 1970s energy crisis and held an essential role in the solar field project at NASA for many years. As a result, he was selected to participate in the People to People program and gave several technical presentations during his trip to China. He was a 50-year member of ASHRAE and became a Fellow of the professional organization in 1981. In his last years at NASA, Ron worked on a vacuum sphere for the Mach 9 wind tunnel. He retired from NASA after 30 years of government service to pursue his love of art. For many years, Ron enjoyed participating as backstage help and set designer/artist for the Hampton Roads Civic Ballet Company. He was a member of the Hampton Arts Commission, a prolific painter, and the founder of Tuesday Morning Painters at the Charles H. Taylor Visual Arts Center.

Wayne Hudgins, 90, passed Dec 27.  Wayne had a very successful career as an Aerospace/Mechanical Engineer at NASA and Ft. Eustis and held engineering patents. 

November 2020

Carson C. Rector passed Nov 2020.  Carson entered the NACA Apprentice School earning the equivalent of an associate’s degree. He worked as an Electronics Technician from 1958 until his retirement in 1995. In all, he had a total of 40 years of civil service for the federal government.

David Dale Kershner, 93, of Yorktown passed Nov 7.  He worked at NASA as an engineer for over 30 years. After retiring, he worked as a contractor for Lockheed Martin.  Art and Music were important throughout Dale’s life from playing violin in the York River and Virginia Beach Symphonies, building violins, singing with the Matinee Idlers and Church Choirs, Sketching and Painting with the Tuesday Morning Painters at Charles Taylor Library in Hampton and later with the Senior Center of York.  The Brain-busters model club provided another outlet for friendship and the skills of building and flying model airplanes. 

John Linkous Price, 89, passed Nov 16.  He entered Newport News Shipbuilding as a draftsman and later entered the NASA Apprentice School graduating in 1962 as a Mechanical Engineering Designer. Before he retired in 1987, he was a contract administrator for various Fabrication Contracts such as the LUNAR Lander and Space Shuttle. He was also a contract manager for Aerospace and Aeronautical model design and contract monitor for Wind Tunnel Facility Component Design and Fabrication. He was a realtor from 1985 to 2005, and after that retirement, he worked at Jefferson Lab in Newport News.

Franklin Earl Creech, 82, passed at his home Nov 21. Born in Johnston County, NC, he was a resident of Poquoson, VA for the past 50 years. Franklin worked within the OSD (Operations Support Division) in the Fluid Systems Section at NASA as a High Pressure Technician where he would retire in March 1995 after 36 years of service. 

Dr. William E. (Bill) Zorumski, 80, a retired NASA scientist of Taos, NM passed Nov 20. He was a member of the Acoustics Branch at LaRC.

Anna “Polly” Justice Bailey, 95, passed Nov 30.  A business college grad, she worked for the Bank of Hampton Roads & later in secretarial positions at NASA from which she retired.

October 2020

Irving Weinstein, 93, passed Oct 5. Irving was born in Baltimore, MD & grew up in Bassett, VA. He received an AE degree from Virginia Tech & served in the Air Corps during WWII.  He joined NACA/LaRC to test, analyze & report results on heat shield systems for Mercury, Gemini & Apollo spacecraft as well as the space shuttle tile systems. He retired from LaRC after almost 34 years. 

September 2020

Ronald Lee Weber, “Ronnie”, 84, passed Sept 1.  He attended Virginia Tech where he played basketball before graduating from the NASA Apprentice School in 1963 . He joined NASA in 1957 retiring in 1992. Ron served his country in the Virginia National Guard. Ron played semi-pro baseball for the Hampton Royals in the Tri-County League around 1955 before he joined the Fox Hill Major League Fast Pitch Softball Team where he played 1st base until 1984.

John F. Miller Sr., 80, passed  Sept 10.  John was a native of Hampton, Virginia. He spent his 30 year career as Foreman of the High Pressure Air Facility at the NASA/Langley Research Center. 

Edgar “Bubba” Collier, Jr, 86, passed Sept 20. Born on Gwynn’s Island, he served in the US Navy before joining NASA LaRC as an outdoor machinist.  After retiring from NASA he opened Bubba’s Ships Galley Family Restaurant that remained open until Nov 2007 when it was sold for new development.  Edgar was a proud mason with his home lodge being Poquoson 49.

William H “Bill” Clarke, 80, passed Sept 24.  Bill, was known to some as “thee Clarkee”.  “Thee Clarkee” worked 35 years at NASA Langley primarily as a wind tunnel drive electrician.  After retirement (1995) he went back as a contractor (Jacobs) and worked as a part time duty officer.  He retired permanently in 2012.  Bill lived in Poquoson since 1950, a community that was dear to his heart, where he served on the Wetlands Board for over 25 years.  He also served on the Board of Zoning Appeals.  Bill belonged locally to the Historic Virginia Peninsula Region (charter member) of the Antique Automobile Club of America with his Hudson, and to the Hampton Roads Ship Model Society where he nurtured his liking of all things steel navy.

Patricia (Pat) Pileggi, 73, passed Sept 24  in San Antonio, TX.  Pat ran the Reid Conference Center for a number of years and her married name then was Pat Gates.  Pat subsequently went to work for US Customs in El Paso, TX.

Jack Judson Hatfield, 82, passed Sept 27 in Yorktown, VA.  After graduating from UVA, he was employed at NASA Langley Research Center as a 2nd Lieutenant in the USAF. In 1963, he became a NASA civilian employee and conducted research on electronic flight display systems and crew station interfaces for aeronautical and space vehicles. Jack collaborated on flight display concepts such as “pathway in the sky”, “synthetic vision”, and flat panel display technologies which are in use in military and civilian aircraft today. Later in his career, he was head of the Crew/Vehicle Interface Research Branch. He retired from NASA in 1995 after 35 years of service, and became a consultant for Honeywell to research “synthetic vision” for supersonic transports. He also worked for Avaya where he designed AV systems for the Newport News Shipyard. 

Jerry Allen Williams, 77, passed Sept 26 in Newport News. A native of Virginia Beach, He worked for NASA LaRC for 40 years, retiring in 2003 as an Engineering Tech. He enjoyed gardening growing tomatoes, fishing & bowling.

August 2020

Wesley Randle (Randy) Coffer, III, 76,  passed Aug 4.  He worked in atmospheric sciences according to Paul Stough and his obituary in the Daily Press stated that he was a chemist.  He was living on Lake Gaston near Bracey, VA where the nearest big town is South Hill, VA.

Mildred Frances Hartman, 93, passed Aug 6.  She was born in Louisiana & retired from NASA/LaRC in 1988. She loved knitting hats for the homeless, sewing for children affected by hurricanes & earthquakes in Haiti, sewing baby blankets for a Family Drug  Recovery Court in Texas & various other charitable organizations.

Joseph Bernard Talbot passed Aug 9.  Joe began his 33-year NASA career at Lewis Research Center in Ohio before joining Langley Research Center,  Hampton, VA. He especially enjoyed his work with the Scout Program Office. His later served a tenure at NASA Headquarters as Shuttle payloads manager and member of the Space Station Freedom Design team at NASA JSC.  He retired in 1995 as Deputy Director of Space. 

John “David” Dearing, 77, of Newport News, passed,Aug 11.  A 1966 Aerospace Engineering graduate of Virginia Tech, he earned a Master’s degree in Thermal Engineering from ODU in 1969.  He was an Aerospace Engineer with LaRC for 33 years and owned Dave’s PC/VCR Clinic. 

Milton W. Skolaut, Jr. passed Aug 16. He worked in LaRC’s Engineering Directorate for 57 years. Milton served with the Boy Scouts of America for more than 60 years. He served as a judge for various science fairs & volunteered with PORT Emergency Winter Shelter in Newport News.

Virgil Scott Laney, 84, of Tabb, Virginia passed Aug 20, after a long battle with Alzheimers. Born in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains in Wise County, VA, he graduated from high school, served 4 years in the Navy, married, attended NASA’s apprentice school, graduating in 1967. After 30 years service he retired from LaRC as an electrical engineer in 1992. 

Barbara “Jeanne” Driscoll, 90, passed Aug 28l. Jeanne retired from civil service, earning numerous awards working for NASA and DOD. A notable highlight while at NASA was being introduced to the original seven astronauts. Jeanne loved reading, boating, gardening, traveling, being with friends, and seeing new places.

Donald Chester McCracken, 87, passed Aug 29 at home in Windsor.  Don retired in 1994 after 35 years of NASA service as Project Manager of the Scout Rocket Program. A Marine Corp veteran, he played football at Vanderbilt & Kent State. It was very important to him that he was mentored and coached by Steve Belichick and, thus, was a lifetime New England Patriot fan.

Joseph Francis Dixon, 89, passed Aug 26.  He attended NACA’s Apprentice School and worked 40 years as a LaRC Electrical Engineering Technician.  He worked on the very successful Scout Project that took him to Africa, Italy, England, Germany, Wallops Island and many other locations. On retirement, he worked for Lockheed-Martin, and as an independent electrician.

Mr. Arizona “AZ” White, 80, passed Aug 27 at home in Hampton, VA.  He was a native of Cumberland County, VA.  A US Army veteran, AZ served 37 years in LaRC’s Center Operations Directorate Maintenance & Operations Branch.

July 2020

Stanley Howard Scher, 96, passed July 9.  He did research into the factors that cause airplanes to enter uncontrolled spins. He designed aircraft features to inhibit spins and developed control techniques that pilots could use to recover from those dangerous situations. He also contributed to the NASA space program and was granted a patent for a system he conceived for decelerating and recovering rocket boosters.  He had a 37-year career at LaRC.  Stan was also a music lover and musician who played clarinet and saxophone in dance bands in the 1950’s and 60’s, including one that he led on the Peninsula.

Trenton Lee Joyner, Sr. (“Dran”), 80, passed at home July 19.  Dran worked at Newport News Shipbuilding for 30 years & retired from NASA/EG&G. When not fitting pipes, he’d be seen digging his cleats deep in the dirt after hitting home runs at Francis Asbury Park. He made softball history in many ways including an induction into the Virginia Softball Hall of Fame. 

William Lawrence Poole, 84, of Newport News, VA, passed July 25.  He served in the US Air Force and began a 37-year NASA Langley Research Center career. Bill was most proud of his work on the development of wind shear radar.  He was an avid skeet shooter, traveling across Virginia and to the World Skeet Match to participate in and referee matches. Bill pursued photography and became known as a gifted artist, especially at capturing the beauty of nature.

William (Bill) Joseph Monta age 85, of Hampton passed July 24.  Bill graduated from Virginia Tech in 1957 and worked at Langley Research Center as an Aeronautical Research Engineer until his retirement in the Supersonic/Hypersonic Aerodynamic Branch.  Bill authored & co-authored numerous technical reports on complex aerodynamic characteristics at supersonic velocities.

June 2020

Margaret “Peggy” Palmer, 95:  passed June 4.  Peggy graduated from William & Mary and  became a librarian at the NACA, NASA, technical library, Langley Research Center.

Daniel Gene Baize, 53, passed June 10. He worked as an Aeronautics Research Directorate Lead Systems Engineer at NASA LaRC for over 30 years.

Mickey Gene Rowe, 85, passed June 28.  He worked at NASA from 1961-1994 and was in charge of Langley’s STAR “supercomputer” program.

May 2020

Michael ‘Mike” Bell, 63:  Passed May 4.  Retired with 38 years of service from LaRC a Mechanical Engineering Technician.  After retiring, he worked at the Langley AFB Base Exchange.  He founded the NTA Tennis Open held annually since 1998 to raise scholarship funds.

Clyde Carlton Lane, 86, of Hertford, NC passed May 14.  A machinist, he retired from LaRC (don’t know when) and was a veteran having served in the US Army.

William “Bill” Mace, 93:  Passed May 16.  He joined NACA in 1946 and worked to develop measurement technologies & operational hardware for wind tunnel and aircraft research and rocket-borne flight experiments for the X-15 and the Space Shuttle programs. Bill was appointed to feasibility study groups evaluating the potential of proposed manned orbital flight such as Project Mercury and deep space manned and unmanned explorations.  Bill served as Director of the Electronics Directorate from 1980 until his retirement in 1990.

George Steinmetz, 82:  Passed May 21.  He received a BS degree in Physics from ODU and a Master’s in Mathematics from William and Mary.  He joined Langley Research Center in 1961 to work on pilot simulator development and simulation studies in ACD.  He conducted advanced flight deck cockpit research & headed the office managing operations of LaRC’s B737. This aircraft was configured with a glass cockpit to conduct advanced flight experiments and is now located at the Boeing Museum in Seattle.  George retired from LaRC in 1996.

April 2020

Wayne A. Wright, 81:  Passed April 4,.  He joined NACA in Oct. 1957 as a technician and eventually managed the Materials Fabrication building.  His obituary noted that the NACA employees were known as the “NACA-Nuts” a title he was very proud to carry.  He retired in 1994 with 37 years of service to LaRC.

Alice Ashley Craddock, 70:  Passed April 6.  Alice began her 31-year career at LaRC as the Coordinator of the Federal Women’s Program.  She went on to become head of the Office of Human Resources and a liaison between LARC and Old Dominion University.  She retired in 2005 as a Deputy Administrator.  She also received the NASA Exceptional Service Medal.

Joanna E Swanson, 86:  Passed April 17.  She joined NACA in 1955 as a mathematician and assume she became one of the so-called “computers”.  Don’t know when she retired.

John Vernon Becker, 106:  Passed April 26.  He joined the NACA in 1936.  He became a specialist in the aerodynamic and heating problems of high-speed flight.  In 1947 he was appointed chief of the division devoted to hypersonic research, a position he held until his retirement.  By 1949 his team had developed the first successful hypersonic wind tunnel which operated at 7 times the speed of sound.  He also worked on development of the X-15.  His obituary stated that he enjoyed visiting the retired X-15 at the Smithsonian where it was hung above the original Wright Brothers’ flyer.  He retired from LaRC in 1975.  As you all know in 2015 he was inducted into the Langley Research Center NACA and NASA Hall of Honor.

March 2020

William Carroll “Bill” Phaup, 75:  Passed Mar 6,.  He graduated from the NASA Apprentice School and worked at LaRC for 37 years as a technician and section head supervising the wind tunnels.  He retired in 2001.

William J. Debnam, Jr. “Bill”, 79:  He joined NASA in 1965, retiring in 1998.  He was proud to receive several patents. After retiring, he worked several years at Trigg Industries.

Robert D. Collie, 97:  Passed Ma 7.  A WWII veteran, he joined NACA as photographer & video expert, serving many NASA posts including 4 tours in Bermuda, Wallops Island, Ascension Island & 5 years in Pasadena, CA as a key contributor to the Viking Mars Mission.

John L. Muring, Jr., 88:  Passed Ma 10.  Not sure if he was employed by LaRC but obituary stated he served at LaRC as Chief Architect and Master Planner.

Robert (Bobby) C. Gage, age?:  Passed March 16.  He worked for 20 years in the NN Shipyard before working for 25 years at LaRC.  He retired in 2006.  Don’t know where he worked at LaRC.  Obit notes he was a great carver of ducks and birds and was a painter.

Robert Ward Johnson, 90:  Passed March 16.  He began work at LaRC in 1963.  His work included “integrated manned life support systems” and “investigations for the application of remote sensing to the marine environment.  He retired from LaRC in 1989.

Lawrence James Farrow, 83:  Passed March 27.  He served in the US Air Force from 1954-1958.  He graduated from the NASA Apprentice School in 1965 and obituary stated he worked there for 31 years.  Don’t have any other information.

David F Varner, 91:  Passed March 25.  Went to work at NACA in 1951 and became a Project Engineer for Research Facilities.  I knew him through a facility known as MAST (Model for Assembly Sterilizer Testing) prior to the Viking mission.  Facility was to investigate how to sterilize spacecraft prior to launch and landing on other planets.  No info on when he retired.

February 2020

Frank Donald Wiggs, 92: Passed Feb 24.  He taught high school in Annapolis, NC, worked for Douglas Aircraft in Charlotte, NC for 10 years and retired from LaRC after 30 years.

Ashley Duane Page, 83:  Passed Feb 27  Ashley was a model maker at NASA for 35 years, retiring in 1991.  He was affectionately known as “Cuz Too” by his friends and workmates.

Kathryn Smith, 81:  Passed Feb 3,  She worked in ACD, Bldg 1268.  Don’t know when retired and years of service.

Katherine G. Johnson, 101:  Passed Feb 24.  One of the LaRC  “computers” portrayed in the movie Hidden Figures.  She worked in the Astromechanics Branch headed by J. Bird & later in the Control Analysis Branch headed by Al Shy.

Olaf Updated 8 Nov 2022