Robert B. "Brian" Grigsby
Cocoa Beach, FL
Robert "Brian" Grigsby, a 50 year resident of Cocoa Beach, FL, passed away on Friday, March 7, 2014 following a six month battle with mesothelioma lung cancer.
He was born December 6, 1933 in Newport News, Virginia, the son of Roy Carlos Grigsby and Nellie Virginia Hynson Grigsby. Brian graduated with a Bachelors of Mechanical Engineering Degree with Honors from North Carolina State University and received a Masters Degree in Automotive Engineering from Chrysler Institute of Engineering, Detroit, MI. Brian obtained the rank of Captain in the USAF piloting B-25's, C-119's and C123's, while stationed in Dreux, France (1956-1959). In 1961, he was employed by General Dynamics Astronautics as a systems engineer and worked at Vandenberg AFB setting up the first Atlas F Series Underground Missile Silo site, which led to the first successful launch of an underground missile. In 1963, he began working at Kennedy Space Center, FL as a propulsion systems engineer with Goddard Launch Operations. His duties included the propulsion and mechanical systems on the Delta unmanned launch vehicle until 1976 when he was appointed Chief, Delta Mechanical/Propulsion Branch. During his career he participated in 125 launches of the Delta Rocket and also served as the technical editor of the Delta Handbook. In 1978, he became the manager of External Tank/Solid Rocket Booster Mechanical Systems for the first six Space Shuttle Launches. He was appointed to the Space Station Task Force, Washington, D.C. in 1983 which developed the original concept and design of what is now known as the International Space Station. Once funding was obtained, he returned to KSC where he finished his 30 year government career as a project engineer with the Space Station Project Office. In this position, he managed engineering activities between Kennedy Space Center and the Canadian Space Agency, and between KSC and Goddard Space Flight Center, as well as with the Washington D.C. program office. While at KSC, he received several performance awards and group achievement awards. Following retirement, he worked for Grumman Aerospace Corporation until final retirement in 1993.
He was an avid boater and antique car enthusiast. He was a member of the Cocoa Beach Sail and Power Squadron attaining the rank of Senior Navigator. Brian also enjoyed his activities with the Cape Canaveral Chapter of the Antique Automobile Club of America. He was an ordained Elder and Deacon of Riverside Presbyterian Church and volunteered thousands of hours at the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport, NY helping to recreate and fly antique seaplanes for 20+ years. He helped support the CBHS ROTC Rifle Team to attain multiple state titles. He was the past president and long standing board member of the National Grigsby Family Society.
Brian is survived by his wife of 51 years, Marilyn; sons, COL (R) Robert E. Grigsby (Michele) USA and Dr. Stephen W. Grigsby D.V.M. (Dr. Christine); grandson John R. Grigsby; granddaughter Olivia K. Grigsby; and brother Carl E. Grigsby (Audrey).
A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 2pm at Riverside Presbyterian Church in Cocoa Beach, FL. Donations may be made in his memory to Glenn H. Curtiss Museum, Hammondsport, NY; Florida Wildlife Hospital, Melbourne, FL; or Riverside Presbyterian Church, Cocoa Beach, FL.
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