Dr. Samuel E. Massenberg Sr. (1927 - 2014)

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HAMPTON - Loving father, grandfather and great-grandfather of Hampton, VA went home to be with the Lord on January 8, 2014 following a long illness at the age of 86. He was born on October 27, 1927 in Detroit, MI. Dr. Massenberg attended Miller High School and Wayne State University to study Law leaving early to pursue his love of flying. He joined the U.S. Air Force December 1950 to train as a pilot. Sam served his country with distinction punctuated by being incarcerated in a brutal POW camp after being shot down over North Korea. Sam's love for flying came early in life. As a teenager, he worked at a local airport, washing airplanes. When the airport went bankrupt he traded continuing to wash planes for flying lessons. Neil Loving, a pioneering black aviator and owner of the flight school, taught him to fly. After only six hours of instruction, he flew solo. Before age 16, he was flying between Detroit and Indianapolis. At 21 Sam attended flight school at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, and became one of the few black pilots in the military at the time. He went on to train B-29 crews. In August 1952, he was transferred to the Japanese island of Okinawa, where he and his crew joined the 307th Bomb Wing. On Jan. 10, 1953, Sam and his crew of 13 were shot down while flying their 13th combat training mission over North Korea. Dr. Massenberg was captured the following day after hiding in a cave overnight. He remained a prisoner of war for the next eight months enduring pain, cold and hunger while being fed two cups of rice a day and his weight dropping from 175 pounds to 100 pounds at the time of his release. In August 1953, he returned to his wife and young son and later a daughter and continued his distinguished military career. After obtaining a bachelor's degree from Ohio State University in 1957 he later served as the Professor of Aerospace Studies at North Carolina A&T. While stationed at Tempelhof Airbase, he also served as one of the distinguished officers on the Military Liaison Missions in Berlin, Germany during the period of heightened tensions between the years 1959 - 1964. Dr. Massenberg retired from the United States Air Force with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1969 as the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing, Maintenance Officer in Goldsboro, North Carolina. Never one to stop seeking and sharing knowledge and wisdom, Sam went on to study at Virginia Technology University earning his doctorate in Education. Dr. Massenberg loved education and the opportunities it creates. His passion for helping young people achieve and succeed in the academic setting led him to serve as the Dean of Men for Hampton Institute (University) from 1969 to 1980. The next phase of his career spanned 26 years as the Director of Education for the Langley National Aerospace and Space Administration where he achieved the level of Senior Executive Service (SES). In 1986 Sam established the Langley Aerospace Research Student Scholar (LARSS) program, which fosters excellence in students with a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). The LARSS program was listed in the Princeton Review's "America's Top 100 Internships" for three consecutive years. Thousands of LARSS students have since worked in aerospace jobs around the nation. Recognizing that much more needed to be done to reach students, he moved aggressively into new educational technologies. Sam developed a set of aerospace-related distance learning programs that were broadcast to over 15 million K-12 students in classrooms nationwide. Another distance learning program he launched, "NASA CONNECT," won the Emmy Award and was recognized as "Best in the USA" by the US Distance Learning Association for two consecutive years. Dr. Samuel Massenberg, Sr. was a proud member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Most recently Dr. Massenberg served on the Hampton School Board and the Board of the Library Virginia. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to: The National Space Grant Foundation Attn: Dr. Samuel Massenberg, Sr. Memorial Fund (Directed to the Langley Aerospace Student Scholars Program) 1645 9th Avenue SE, Suite 149 Albany, Oregon 97322 Dr. Massenberg was preceded in death by his loving parents, Zannie and Mary (Henderson) Massenberg, Sr., and his sister Pauline Massenberg. He is survived by his son Rev. Samuel Massenberg, Jr (daughter-in-law Lulu), daughter Dr. Mirian Graddick-Weir (son-in-law Michael), grandchildren; Ligeia Robinson, Dr. Tawanna Massenberg, Tiffany Graddick Esq., Danielle Graddick, Monique Weir, and Cameron Weir and great grandchildren; Zamiah Robinson and Johnathon Weir, brother; Zannie Massenberg, Jr., niece; Lori Haywood and a host of family and friends. Viewing and Wake Sunday, January 12, 2014 Cooke Bros. Funeral Chapel 1601 27th Street Newport News, VA (757) 380-0251 Viewing - 11am - 4pm Wake - 4pm - 5pm Funeral Service Monday, January 13, 2014 Hampton University Memorial Church 100 Cemetery Road Hampton, VA Viewing 8am - 10am Funeral Service will begin 10am Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery Washington, DC.at a later date.
Funeral Home
Cooke Bros Funeral Chapel & Crematory - Newport News
1601 27th St  Newport News, VA 23607
Funeral Home Details
Published in Daily Press on Jan. 11, 2014
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