Astronomy compels the soul to look upward,
and leads us from this world to another.
John "Jack" Byers died on November 2, 2015. He was 85 years old. An amazing son, brother, husband, father, uncle, grandfather and friend, He LOVED life! Always smiling, Jack was often known as "pods." Whether it was playing golf, watching the Pittsburgh Steelers or concentrating on a mission into space, Pods LOVED life!
Jack Byers was born and raised near Pittsburgh, PA, in a small town called Scottdale. He was the oldest son to John and Helen. He along with his three surviving siblings: Mrs. Jean (Bill) Beck, Pittsburgh, PA; Mrs. Rosemarie (Dave) Heasley, Sandy, UT; and, Mr. Robert Byers, Houston, TX, were raised in a devout Catholic family during the Great Depression. Their hometown was small but Jack's dreams were big. In 1951, Jack was drafted by the US Army during the Korean War. His two years of service sent him to White Sands, NM where he worked with guided missile testing, often under the guidance of Dr. Wernher Von Braun. Unbeknownst to Jack, his career and his dreams were about to take shape.
After the Korean War, Jack continued his studies and working closely with air force pilots, training them on simulators for the F-86. This sent him to Sioux City, Iowa where he met and married Maurine (deceased 2009). Together they headed to Yuma, AZ, where Jack continued his work with the F-86. While in Yuma, Jack and Maurine welcomed two of their four children, John and Julie. In 1960, North American Aviation/later, Rockwell International, sent Jack to Downey, CA to begin working on the greatest aviation accomplishment ever, sending humans into space. During their time in CA, Jack and Maurine welcomed two more children, Ed and Kirk.
In 1966, Jack was transferred to Houston to begin his 22 year career at NASA/Johnson Space Center. Working with true professionals, pioneers and dreamers like him. Here is where he made life-long friends. During these years, Jack worked tirelessly over many Apollo, Skylab, and Space Shuttle missions to make sure each and every mission was safe and successful. He was awarded the Silver Snoopy, as well as being recognized by President Nixon, receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom for a team effort in bringing home the crew of Apollo 13. He retired in 1988, allowing him and Maurine to move back to Yuma, AZ where they would play golf, rock-hound and enjoy the big open sky. After the death of his wife, Jack relocated back to the Clear Lake City area to be near his children and grandchildren, Beau Byers (Olivia), Baton Rouge, LA and Dean Byers, Pearland, TX. Jack was a true engineer in everything he did whether working as a flight controller on mission control, playing golf, camping and barbecuing for the family, or working on cars. He LOVED life, smiled all the time, made many people laugh and he loved a cold beer!
He will be missed. John, Julie, Ed, and Kirk would like to thank all of his co-workers, golfing buddies, friends and neighbors for reaching out with their memories and well wishes. The family is planning a gathering in memory of Jack and Maurine Byers later this year. If you would like more information please email at email@example.com.
Special thanks to the staff and caregivers at The Pointe Rehabilitation Center in Clear Lake City for keeping Jack comfortable over these final months of his life.