James A. McDivitt, Commander in Early NASA Triumphs, Is Dead at 93
Jim McDivitt, the man who launched the Apollo lunar missions in the 1960s and played a critical role in the manned flight program, died Aug. 18. He was 93. His death follows that of his wife, the former Evelyn.
McDivitt had many jobs during his 41-year career in the Army Air Corps. He was president of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and a fellow of the Explorers Club. He was also director of flight operations for the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School.
This story is being reported with the permission of Richard P. Feynman, who contributed the quotation to this special issue of Space News.
I was born on Aug. 3, 1928. I grew up in Easton, Pa. My father was a postal clerk and did his own typing, too. I’ve always been interested in everything.
My father was a very strong influence on me in my later life. We were always very close after World War II. I was 19 when he died. That was the first death. I had been very close to him, and I didn’t really realize just how bad his illness was until he died. Then I began to suffer from bouts of depression because of his death.
He had worked his whole life as a mail carrier and then for 25 years as a post office clerk. He did his own typing after he retired. He was a very good-looking, intelligent and cheerful man, and I don’t have any personal memory of him that is not good. I have to wonder if he didn’t have some special talent or something. It would be interesting to know whether he was a genius and I never heard that he was anything outstanding in school. He had a very good college education.
There was a lot of talent and ability in our family. My grandmother and my mother used to joke that if you would have asked them if they were related to each other, they would have said “yes,” and then said