About Members and Obituaries

We plan to include information about individual LAA members in this section, including New members, other NASA retirees, and a list of Obituaries, of those who have recently passed.  At each LAA meeting the LAA Membership Chair reads aloud the names of new members who have recently joined the LAA and those friends and associates who have passed away since the previous month’s LAA meeting. These names are emailed to the LAA members on the LAA Membership Roster each month. The Membership Chair maintains monthly lists of Obituaries since 2011, and several albums of newspaper-clipping obits dating back to well-before that.

NEW MEMBERS

January 2020, Year Retired,  Resides

Johnny W. Allred 2000 Burlington, NC

David Bowles 2019 Suffolk VA

John Wayne Cox 2006 Hampon, VA

Regina D Johns 2017 Hampton, VA

Mitchel E. Thomas 2004 Williamsburg, VA

Hartsell Frank Williams 1998 Hampton, VA

Charles Zeitman 2019 Suffolk, VA

February 2020, Year Retired,  Resides

Curtis “Randy” Regan Suffolk, VA

Brent Weathered 2019 Poquoson, VA

Raleigh Brad Perry, Jr. 2013 Irvington, VA

March 2020, Year Retired,  Resides

Rosemary Froehlich 2014 Norfolk, VA

William M. Berrios 2019 Yorktown, VA

Doree G Fitzhugh 2020 Hampton, VA

April 2020, Year Retired, Resides

Otis S. Childress, Jr, 1992, Williamsburg, VA

May 2020, Year Retired, Resides

Vicki K. Crisp, 2017, Mt. Holly, NC

July 2020, Year Retired, Resides

Stephen Scotti, 2019, Yorktown, VA

October 2020, Year Retired, Resides

Jame (Jim) M. Russell II, 1995, Grafton, VA

Steve Resnick, 2019, Smithfield, VA

November 2020, Year Retired, Resides

Dr. Olaf O. Storaasli, 2005, Oak Ridge, TN

December 2020, Year Retired, Resides

Rosa Webster, 2006, Chesapeake, VA

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RECENT OBITUARIES FOR NASA ALUMNI – NAME, AGE, DATE OF PASSING, HISTORY

December 2020

1.  Ronald Neil Jensen, age 87, passed away at home on Thursday, December 17, 2020.  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 (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) 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.

2.  Wayne Hudgins, 90, passed away, on December 27, 2020.  Wayne had a very successful career as an Aerospace/Mechanical Engineer at NASA and Ft. Eustis and held engineering patents. 

November 2020

1.  Carson C. Rector passed in November 2020.  Carson entered the Apprentice School at the NACA and earned 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.

2. David Dale Kershner, 93, of Yorktown passed away on Saturday, November 7, 2020.  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. 

3.  John Linkous Price, 89, passed away on Monday, November 16, 2020.  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.

4.  Franklin Earl Creech, 82, passed away at his home on Saturday, November 21, 2020. 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. 

5.  Dr. William E. (Bill) Zorumski, 80, a retired NASA scientist of Taos, NM passed away on November 20, 2020. He was a member of the Acoustics Branch at LaRC.

6.  Anna “Polly” Justice Bailey, 95, passed away Monday, November 30, 2020.  After graduating from business college, she worked for the Bank of Hampton Roads and later in secretarial positions at NASA from which she retired.

October 2020

1.  Irving Weinstein, 93, passed away on October 5, 2020. Irving was born in Baltimore, MD and grew up in Bassett, VA. He received a degree in Aeronautical engineering from Virginia Tech and served in the Air Corps during WWII.  He joined LaRC (then NACA) doing testing, analysis, and reporting test results on the heat shield systems for the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space programs as well as the space shuttle tile systems. He retired from LaRC after almost 34 years. 

September 2020

1.  Ronald Lee Weber, “Ronnie”, 84, passed on September 1,2020.  He attended Virginia Tech where he played basketball before entering the NASA Apprentice School from which he graduated in 1963 and was employed by NASA from 1957 until his retirement 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 for whom he played 1st base until 1984.

2. John F. Miller Sr., 80, passed away on September 10, 2020. 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. 

3. Edgar “Bubba” Collier, Jr, 86, passed away on Sept 20,2020 and was born on Gwynn’s Island. After serving in the US Navy, he went to work at NASA LaRC as an outdoor machinist.  Shortly after retiring from NASA he opened Bubba’s Ships Galley Family Restaurant that remained open until November 2007 when the property was sold for new development.  Edgar was a proud mason with his home lodge being Poquoson 49.

4.  William H “Bill” Clarke, 80, passed away on September 24, 2020.  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.

45  Patricia (Pat) Pileggi, 73, passed away September 24, 2020 in San Antonio, Texas.  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.

6.  Jack Judson Hatfield, 82, passed away on September 27, 2020 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. 

7.  Jerry Allen Williams, 77, passed away September 26, 2020 in Newport News. Jerry was a native of Virginia Beach. He worked for NASA LaRC for 40 years and retired in 2003 as an Engineering Tech. He enjoyed gardening growing tomatoes, fishing, and bowling.

August 2020

1. Wesley Randle (Randy) Coffer, III, 76,  passed away August 4, 2020.  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.

2.  Mildred Frances Hartman, 93, passed away on August 6, 2020 and was born in Louisiana.  She retired from NASA/LaRC in 1988.  Her obituary stated that she loved knitting hats for the homeless, sewing for children affected by hurricanes and earthquakes in Haiti, sewing baby blankets for a Family Drug  Recovery Court in Texas and various other charitable organizations.

3.  Joseph Bernard Talbot passed away on August 9, 2020.  Joe began his 33-year career with NASA at Lewis Research Center in Ohio and spent most of it at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. He especially enjoyed his work with the Scout Program Office. His later assignments included a tenure at NASA Headquarters as program manager for Shuttle payloads, and member of the Space Station Freedom Design team at NASA Johnson Space Center.  He retired in 1995 as the Deputy Director of Space. 

4.  John “David” Dearing, 77, of Newport News, passed away Tuesday, August 11, 2020.  He was a 1966 graduate of Virginia Tech with a degree in Aerospace Engineering and earned a Master’s degree in Thermal Engineering from Old Dominion University in 1969.  He waa an Aerospace Engineer with Langley Research Center for 33 years and was the owner of Dave’s PC/VCR Clinic. 

5.  Milton W. Skolaut, Jr. passed away on August 16, 2020. He worked in the Engineering Directorate for NASA for 57 years. Milton was active with the Boy Scouts of America for more than 60 years. He served as a judge for various science fairs and volunteered with PORT Emergency Winter Shelter in Newport News.

6.  Virgil Scott Laney, 84, of Tabb, Virginia passed away on August 20, 2020, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was born in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains in Wise County, Virginia. After graduating high school, he served four years in the Navy. After marrying, he attended the NASA apprentice program, graduating in 1967. After 30 years of service he retired from LaRC as an electrical engineer in 1992. 

7.  Barbara “Jeanne” Driscoll, 90, passed away on August 28, 2020l. 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.

8.  Donald Chester McCracken, 87, passed away on Saturday, August 29, 2020 at his home in Windsor.  Don retired from NASA as a Project Manager of the Scout Rocket Program in 1994 after 35 years of service.  He was a marine Corp veteran. He played football at Vanderbilt and 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.

9. Joseph Francis Dixon, 89, passed away on August 26, 2020.  He attended the Apprentice School at NACA. He worked for 40 years as an Electrical Engineering Technician at LaRC.  He worked on the Scout Project – one of the most successful rocket launch programs that took him to Africa, Italy, England, Germany, Wallops Island and many other locations. Upon retirement, he worked for Lockheed-Martin, and as an independent electrician.

10.  Mr. Arizona “AZ” White, 80, passed away August 27, 2020 at his home in Hampton, VA.  Mr White was a native of Cumberland County, VA.  He served 37 years in LaRC’s Center Operations Directorate Maintenance and Operations Branch and was a veteran of the US Army.

July 2020

7. Stanley Howard Scher, 96, passed away on July 9, 2020.  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.

8.  Trenton Lee Joyner, Sr. (“Dran”), 80, passed away at his home on July 19, 2020.  Dran worked at Newport News Shipbuilding for 30 years and retired from NASA/EG&G. When he wasn’t fitting pipes, he could be found digging his cleats deep in the dirt after hitting home runs out of Francis Asbury Park. He made softball history in many ways including an induction into the Virginia Softball Hall of Fame. 

9.  William Lawrence Poole, 84, of Newport News, VA, passed away on July 25, 2020.  He served in the US Air Force and went on to a 37-year career at NASA Langley Research Center. 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.

1.  William (Bill) Joseph Monta age 85, of Hampton passed away on July 24, 2020.  Bill graduated from Virginia Tech in 1957 and worked at the Langley Research Center as an Aeronautical Research Engineer until his retirement.  Bill was a member of the Supersonic/Hypersonic Aerodynamic Branch.  Bill authored and co-authored numerous technical reports on very complex aerodynamic characteristics at velocities high above the speed of sound.

June 2020

4. Margaret “Peggy” Palmer, 95:  Passed away June 4, 2020.  Peggy graduated from the College of William and Mary and subsequently became a librarian at the NACA, NASA, technical library, Langley Research Center.

5. Daniel Gene Baize, 53, passed away on June 10, 2020. He worked as an Aeronautics Research Directorate Lead Systems Engineer at NASA LaRC for over 30 years.

6.  Mickey Gene Rowe, 85, passed away on June 28, 2020.   He worked at NASA from 1961 to 1994. He was in charge of the STAR program, NASA’s first “super computer”, the cray computer.

May 2020

1.  Michael ‘Mike” Bell, 63:  Passed away on May 4,2020.  Retired with 38 years of service from LaRC a Mechanical Engineering Technician.  After retirement, he worked at the Langley AFB Base Exchange.  He was founder of the NTA Tennis Open held annually since 1998 to raise money for a scholarship fund.

2.  Clyde Carlton Lane, 86, of Hertford, NC passed away May 14, 2020.  A machinist, he retired from LaRC (don’t know when) and was a veteran having served in the US Army.

3.  William “Bill” Mace, 93:  Passed away May 16, 2020.  He began employment at the NACA in 1946. He worked on the development of measurement technologies and operational hardware required 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.

4. George Steinmetz, 82:  Passed away May 21, 2020.  He receive a BS degree in Physics from ODU  and a Master’s in Mathematics from William and Mary.  He went to work at the Langley Research Center in 1961. He worked on pilot simulator development and simulation studies in the ACD in Bldg. 1268.  He also worked on advanced flight deck cockpit technology and became head of the office that managed the operations of the LaRC research 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 retire from LaRC in 1996.

April 2020

1.  Wayne A. Wright, 81:  Passed away April 4, 2020.  He went to work in Oct. 1957 for the NACA 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.

2.  Alice Ashley Craddock, 70:  Passed away on April 6, 2020.  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.

3.  Joanna E Swanson, 86:  Passed away April 17, 2020.  She went to work for the NACA in 1955 as a mathematician and assume she became one of the so-called “computers”.  Don’t know when she retired.

4.  John Vernon Becker, 106:  Passed away April 26, 2020.  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

1.  William Carroll “Bill” Phaup, 75:  Passed away on March 6, 2020.  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.

2.  William J. Debnam, Jr. “Bill”, 79:  He started working at NASA in 1965 and retired in 1998.  He received several patents that he was very proud of.  After retirement from NASA, he worked at Trigg Industries for several years.

3.  Robert D. Collie, 97:  Passed away on March 7, 2020.  He was a veteran of WWII and started work at the NACA as photographer and video expert.  He served many posts for NASA, including four tours in Bermuda, Wallops Island, Ascension Island, and 5 years in Pasadena, CA where he was a key contributor to the Viking Mission.

4.  John L. Muring, Jr., 88:  Passed away on March 10, 2020.  Not sure if he was employed by LaRC but obituary stated he served at LaRC as Chief Architect and Master Planner.

5.  Robert (Bobby) C. Gage, age?:  Passed away March 16, 2020.  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.

6.  Robert Ward Johnson, 90:  Passed away March 16, 2020.  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.

7.  Lawrence James Farrow, 83:  Passed away March 27, 2020.  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.

8.  David F Varner, 91:  Passed away March 25, 2020.  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

1.  Frank Donald Wiggs, 92: Passed away on February 24, 2020.  He taught high school in Annapolis, NC, worked for Douglas Aircraft in Charlotte, NC for 10 years and retired from LaRC after 30 years.

2.  Ashley Duane Page, 83:  Passed away on February 27, 2020.  Ashley was a model maker at NASA for 35 years.  He retired in 1991.  He was affectionately known as “Cuz Too” by his friends and workmates.

3.  Kathryn Smith, 81:  Passed away February 3, 2020.  Remembered that she worked in ACD, Bldg 1268.  Don’t know when retired and years of service.

4.  Katherine G. Johnson, 101:  Passed away on February 24, 2020.  She was one of the “computers” at LaRC and became well known being portrayed in the movie Hidden Figures.  She had worked in the Astromechanics Branch headed by J. Bird and later worked in Control Analysis Branch headed by Al Shy.

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