John R. Brinkmann

Obituary
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John Robert Brinkmann, a long-time resident of El Lago, Texas, passed away on March 5, 2014, at the age of 92. John was born in December, 1921, in the tiny village of Rozellville, Wisconsin to John Henry Brinkmann and Wilhelmina Szebstadt, who were first generation children of immigrants from Germany. John truly epitomized what has come to be known as America's greatest generation. As a young boy, he dreamed of flying, but even he could not envision the heights to which he would soar. As a bombardier in WW II, he trained in bombers and was on his way to overseas combat when the war ended. Settling in Hampton, Virginia, in 1945 John started to work in at NACA, the predecessor to NASA, in the fledgling photographic division. There, he steadily rose through the ranks as he demonstrated his talent and drive to those who would become future leaders at NASA. When NASA moved to Houston in 1962, John saw an opportunity, where others saw an uncertain future, and accepted the challenge to start up the photographic laboratory at what was to become the Johnson Space Center outside of Houston. A true pioneer of America's space program, John was there for the Little Joe, Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo projects. His mission was simply to help develop a camera that could take quality photographs in the harsh environment of space, when no such camera existed. Ultimately, he was the man responsible for the stunning space photographs and film of that era, though John would be the first to credit his highly skilled and motivated team in the photo lab. During this time, John also managed to continue his love of flying in the Air Force Reserve, where he retired at the rank of Major. The goal of sending a man to the moon and safely returning him to earth fulfilled, John retired from NASA in 1975 to spend quality time with his family.John was married to Helen Cash of Hampton, Virginia, who preceded him in death in 2011. John and Helen were married for 67 years and John spent the last years of her life caring for Helen in her time of illness. His devotion to her in good times and hard times is an inspiration to us all. John is survived by his children: Carol Temperton of Friendswood, Texas; John Brinkmann Jr. (Terri Lynn) of Stafford, Virginia; Michael Brinkmann (Jenniefer) of Clear Lake City; and Jeanie McHugh (Terry) of Friendswood, Texas; his grandchildren Michele, Melissa, Jessica, Jason, Vanessa, Samantha, Zachary, Michael and Cameron; his great grandchildren Camryn, Jacob, Jackson, Jack, Colton,John Hunter and Gage. He was preceded in death by his parents, sisters Delma Roe and Mildred Schultz, and brothers Eugene, Harry, Frances, Alfred and Raymond. John was an honest, decent, loving and hard working man of great integrity and wisdom. As the patriarch of our family, his presence will be greatly missed, but his memory will live on in all of his family. Memorial services for John Brinkmann will be held on March 14, 2014, at 11 am at St Paul's Catholic Church in Nassau Bay, Texas.


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Published on yourbayareanews.com from Mar. 6 to Mar. 20, 2014
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