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  Did any of us meet Eisele, Swigert, Roosa or Evans?

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Author Topic:   Did any of us meet Eisele, Swigert, Roosa or Evans?
Matt T

Posts: 1356
From: Chester, Cheshire, UK
Registered: May 2001

posted 10-01-2004 12:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Matt T   Click Here to Email Matt T     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Following the recent Burbank show we've heard a lot about people's in person experiences with the surviving Apollo astronauts. Given that the majority of collectSPACErs have become involved with the hobby only in the last few years or so I was wondering how many (if any) of our members had ever met any of the astronauts who died some years ago?

I know I'd be fascinated to hear of any encounters and impressions of them.



Bob M

Posts: 1367
From: Atlanta-area, GA USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 10-01-2004 12:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've had the privilege and honor to meet a little over 70 astronauts and cosmonauts and the very first one I met, Jim Irwin in 1973, is the only one deceased and I hope it stays that way for many years. He was on his "To Rule the Night" book tour in Atlanta, GA and he was very friendly & even politely stood up after he signed my book to shake my hand. He also had no problem signing my Apollo 15 FDC I brought along.

Bob Mc.

[This message has been edited by Bob M (edited October 01, 2004).]

Hart Sastrowardoyo

Posts: 2123
From: Toms River, NJ,USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 10-01-2004 12:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The very first astronaut I met was none other than Deke Slayton, at an early 90s I-Con at State University of New York at StonyBrook. Ashamed to say I wasn't into the space program as I am now. However, I was aware enough that I had to find a photo of him to get signed (keep in mind, this was a state school, and as such, all it cost for his sig was the cost of the con, which wasn't any more than $10 for the weekend.)

I didn't know about photos then, either, so I bought a set of ASTP slides, found one of Slayton, took it out of its holder and put it into another, blank (e.g., no copyright or other identifying marks) holder, and dropped it off to get a print made.

There were two prints made, one reversed, the other not. The size was odd, too, 11" high but 7" wide, and it wasn't the best quality. Nevertheless, Deke signed it twice - once with a pen that started to skip, then with a Sharpie.

It also shows Leonov and I believe Stafford. I sent it off to get it signed by Leonov last year (someone was going to Autographica, or some other show where he was at), and eventually, I'll get it signed by Stafford.

It may not be the best photo or the best signed, but it's my first astronaut signed photo and I'll always remember that.

I got Slayton to also sign my NASA astronaut biography booklet; dunno why I didn't get him to sign my con program book as well.

The only other thing I can say is that I think I went to his lecture but I don't remember anything about it. That, and I don't recall there being that much of a line.

Sometimes I doubt whether or not I met Slayton, since it was so long ago (stop laughing) and he died shortly thereafter. But while I may not have the negative, I do have a photo of him signing at his table (no, no photos of me with him - not only would that be a scary sight but I didn't think of it at that time either!)


Posts: 1287
From: West Jordan, Utah USA
Registered: Dec 1999

posted 10-01-2004 01:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for randy   Click Here to Email randy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I had the privelege of meeting Alan Shepard, Tom Stafford and Alan Bean when I spent some time in Houston visiting family friend, Don Lind. All three were very friendly and 'down to earth'. It was an experience I'll never forget.

John K. Rochester

Posts: 1273
From: Rochester, NY, USA
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 10-01-2004 03:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for John K. Rochester   Click Here to Email John K. Rochester     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I had an experience meeting Deke as well.. and we had a chance to talk about the Apollo 1 fire before he signed the Murray /Cox Book "Apollo".. he described the feeling in the blockhouse as the fire took the lives of his friend and fellow astronauts. Met Al Shepard at a golf outing and I asked him to sign a Mercury 7 photo.. and the flunky who was with him says " boy , the autograph hounds find you everywhere dont they?" To which he replied " I'd feel unappreciated if they didn't" Thanks Al!! And Ron Evans and Gene Cernan I met at Nixons Inaugural Parade..great guys!

Rick Boos

Posts: 828
From: Celina,Ohio U.S.A.
Registered: Feb 2000

posted 10-02-2004 08:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Boos   Click Here to Email Rick Boos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was a close friend of Ron's. He was a great guy and never considered himself anything special, more interested in selling real estate for Century 21 in latter years. Very nice guy, what you saw is what you got. He would talk for hours if you wanted to, sign anything, and do anything for you.A great friend and I really miss him!!!!! Godspeed Capt. America!
Rick Boos

New Member


posted 10-02-2004 04:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RMH   Click Here to Email RMH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I had the privledge to see and get autographs from Deke Slayton, Alan Shepard, and Jim Irwin. Although I was a big space fan I was to young at the time to truly appreciate who Slayton and Shepard were. Jim Irwin seemed very cordial and gave an interesting speech. He made sure to tell me how much the items I was getting his autograph on would increase in value because he signed it. I also had the chance to hear shuttle astronaut Dave Walker give a speech.

I wish I could have met Ron Evans.

Ken Havekotte

Posts: 1823
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 10-05-2004 03:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If I recall correctly, never had an opportunity to meet Swigert, but I did meet Evans (first in 1973), Eisele only once, and Roosa twice before. Of the first 73 astronauts selected by NASA from 1959-1969, most I have either met, visited together with, and worked with many within the last 30+ years or so. This includes 22 private signings with a different astronaut from Groups 1 thru 7, in which, many were at my home. Like Bob, one of the first astros that I ever met was also Irwin, but in 1972, when he visited my church. After he spoke, we shook hands and he signed one of my Apollo 15 launch covers. Needless to say, I was thrilled by such an encounter that later developed into a special friendship. In Feb. 1973 was my first encounter with Evans along with his Apollo 17 crewmates as they returned to Kennedy Space Center to thank the launch team workers. All signed one of my Apollo 17 launch covers when I was still in high school. Others in those early years of mine were with Lovell, Bean, Collins, Mitchell, Anders, Slayton, Young, and so many others. Of the nation's first 73 astronauts, I would say offhand, I have either met, worked with, etc. everyone except the following: Grissom, See, White, Bassett, Chaffee, Freeman, C. Williams, Michel, Bull, Givens, Lind (I can't be sure because of his Shuttle flight), Swigert, Chapman, Llewellyn, O'Leary, Holmquest, Thornton (can't ever recall), and maybe Don Peterson. I have lost count when it comes to the Shuttle/ISS astronauts from Group 8 on.
I would say dozens and dozens, many crews, with only a few private signings and other visits to my home here on Florida's Space Coast. This has been a fun topic as it helps to bring back so many early astronaut sightings and encounteres.


Posts: 1239
From: Washington, DC, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 10-05-2004 05:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I met Evans back in '89 while he was sitting in the back of a convertible waiting for a 20th Anniversary of Apollo 11 parade to start. My buddy and I talked with him for about 10 minutes. Very, very nice guy. He seemed thrilled that someone still remembered the CMP of the last Apollo flight!

On another note, I met Slayton around the same time. I handed him my copy of "We Seven" to sign. He asked where I got that "old relic" and we talked for a while about where to find copies. Also a very, very nice guy.


Posts: 503
From: Delft, Netherlands
Registered: Apr 2001

posted 10-05-2004 11:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kirsten   Click Here to Email Kirsten     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Would have been thrilled to have ever met one of the Japanese space explorers !!!

Please feel free to e-mail me any e-mail addy for the Japanese guys ...

All the best, Kirsten


Posts: 933
From: South Bend, IN United States of America
Registered: Apr 2002

posted 10-07-2004 08:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceman1953   Click Here to Email spaceman1953     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Good, this gets me away from Internet sites I shouldn't be at.....ones that only want your MONEY !
Anyway......hey, I got TWO lots Saturday on eBay LIVE Aurora auction ! Cheers !

OK, deceased all who WERE at Burbank were lucky ducks indeed ! I know you ALL had a GREAT time !

Where to start ? Jim Irwin, I guess. He was in the South Bend-Mishawaka area MANY times....three or more.....all within a few years of each other it seems.....EVERY time, he was MOST gracious and would sign ANYTHING you handed him and nearly always, if not always, would put his little Moon drawing on things. My big thrill meeting astronauts and others is always trying to take a second and SHAKE HANDS.

"Met" Ron Evans "through the mail"....I think it was Rick Boos earlier in this discussion that talked about how he would do anything for you......I was fascinated on who some collectors much more famous than I in the collecting community always had FLOWN for some reason, I started writing to later Apollo astronauts asking them to carry covers on SIMULATOR "rides" for me.....and many of them did. Ron Evans was especially accomodating to me through the mail.....certainly he had no reason to be....and he carried stuff on flights too, if I recall. (Some stuff you will have to read about in my "book", published long after I am dead.....that is too personal to include here.....)I never could thank Mr. Evans enough.....not ever.

Stu Roosa. I got on an Apollo fire kick some years after the fire.....decided I wanted to write to some people who were there. Roosa was in the blockhouse at the time....actually, I think I just started asking astronauts where they were on the night of the fire....not knowing who was where nor how inconsiderate it might be of my asking....heck, I was just a youngster interested in space.

Nobody ever said "jump in the lake, it's none of your business"......Roosa took the time to send me an extended reply. WOW !
In 1994....Oshkosh, WI EAA fly-in.....26 Apollo astronauts were announced to be there....I had never, ever been to a fly-in, did not know, really, what I was getting into, but on a long bus trip with the local "99's" group, I WAS THERE and had the time of my life !

Standing (I have written about there before on this site) where I had no business standing, trying to catch glimpses and photographs of astronauts.....autographs were specifically OFF LIMITS that day.....was Stu Roosa. Well, heck, I figured if I couldn't get an autograph, at least I could go up, shake hands, introduce myself and thank him for that letter, written so many years ago ! He was thrilled.....I had a camera, I mentioned that I couldn't ask for an autograph....he asked ME, if I wanted to pose for a picture with him !

I never was into that.....but he said he would ask his wife to take the picture....I made sure that camera was was NOT working......I fooled with it, asked him if the offer still held.....she took the picture of me and Stu Roosa.....and I went home with a souvenir no amount of money would have gotten me !

That December he passed and I had to call NASA Houston for confirmation when I heard the the personal stuff in my book. I'm still not over that he cared enough for a dumb schmuck like me.....

Let's see....oh Pete Conrad. Now here is your astronauts, astronaut. He must have had the time of his life EVERYDAY he lived.....He was a Notre Dame for the Engineering celebration in 1974 (???) and he "brought with him" a whole slew of astronauts for us to play with.....who seemed to be happy in his presence every step of the way. Here is another astronaut who would sign anything you asked for.....use your own pen if you wanted.....and really seemed happy to do it. I have a really old friend who met him years before I did and told me the same stories.....friendly as all heck !

I called a friend one day that Al Shepard was going to be in Chicago for a book signing....I took the day off of work, started to look for copies of the book in South Bend, and decided at the last possible moment NOT to drive the 90 miles to Chicago to see him. Certainly my loss....which I knew the moment I decided NOT to make the drive that I would always friend, who lived in Chicago at the time went and Shepard let you get in line OVER AND OVER.....knowing you were a repeater, he would sign away as long as there was a line !

Deke here is one astronaut I thought I would NEVER get to a big Chicago stamp show....they were releasing those USA/Russia joint space stamp designs and Slayton sat at the table after the first day ceremony.....I got my turn and said "Do you mind if I call you Deke ?" He said, "No, I answer to that !". Got my handshake and my autograph !

Is that all ? Well, there is Dr. von Braun....I've written about that several times here.....he called "Bucky Fuller" over to "sign some stuff for these guys".

I know times have changed....but EVERY astronaut I have had the "high honor and distinct privilege" (see, I COULD be Speaker of the House !) the ones passed and those alive still, have ALWAYS been the most cordial of people you would ever want to meet ! I wonder what ones who have signed freely and still do, think about those who charge. Those who charge reasonable fees and then have it earmarked for charities really get extra gold stars.....

Boy.....THANKS for the memories !

Gene Bella


Posts: 406
From: Salzburg, Austria
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 10-08-2004 09:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cosmos-walter   Click Here to Email cosmos-walter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I had the privilege to attend - among other events - the 10th ASE Congress held at Moscow and Ulan Ulde near the beautiful Lake Baikal in 1994. It was a real great experience. I spoke with virtually all astronauts and cosmonauts attending. I remember Steward Roosa very well. He was a nice guy. He already was often tired. When I asked the participants for signing my book, this moonwalker slept and I did not want to bother him.


Posts: 747
From: New Windsor, Maryland USA
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 10-08-2004 01:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I met Evans and the rest of the Apollo 17 crew months after the flight while still in high school. The context was a press conference that had an unusual and surprising end.

I won't repeat it here, but if you're interested, see the following thread, starting in the 3rd paragraph of the 4th posting:



Posts: 503
From: Delft, Netherlands
Registered: Apr 2001

posted 10-08-2004 08:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kirsten   Click Here to Email Kirsten     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Walter -

You didn't happen to meet the guys on a Trans-Siberian railway travel, did you ???

What a happy guy would you have been when having done so ...

All the best,



Posts: 773
From: California
Registered: Oct 2004

posted 10-17-2004 10:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for zee_aladdin   Click Here to Email zee_aladdin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I met Alan Bean a few years ago and gave him a copy of my paper that analyzed one of his paintings for my art class while working on my Masters Degree in Humanities.

A few days later he emailed me: 'I get alot of stuff and throw most of it away, but your paper is a Keeper!'

I felt Elated. I was Proud

posted 10-18-2004 05:16 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jim Irwin. A true gentleman. I met him three times, the last time in Belfast City Hall in 1991, a few months before he died. When I heard of his death, I felt that planet Earth had become a poorer place.

All times are CT (US)

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