McKAY--David Stewart, 76, of Friendswood, died Tuesday. He was the middle son of Donald and Twila McKay, born in Titusville, PA, on September 25, 1936. He received his B.A. from Rice University, his M.A. from the Univerity of California at Berkeley, and his Ph.D. from Rice University, all three degrees in geology. He started working for NASA at the Johnson Space Center in 1965. He helped to train the Apollo astronauts in what to look for in the geology of the Moon. He then turned to the study of lunar soil. In 1996, he and a team of fellow researchers studied a Mars meteorite and published a paper in Science presenting the first evidence for life on Mars. Recently he studied the toxicity of lunar dust in preparation for long-term stays on the Moon and human missions to Mars. He was well liked by his colleagues at NASA, especially a group who called themselves "the Davettes." David is preceded in death by his younger brother, Gordon McKay and his wife Linda Uljon. He is survived by his wife, Mary Fae, with whom he celebrated 40 years of marriage in 2011. He is also survived by his three daughters, Amy McKay Reifler, her husband, Jason Reifler, and their daughters, Eleanor and Lila, of Atlanta, GA; Susy McKay, her husband, Daniel Felix, and their son, Casey, of Berkeley, CA; and Jill McKay-Fleisch and her husband, Markus McKay-Fleisch, of Seattle, WA., older brother, Gene McKay and his wife Annelie of Orlando, FL, nieces, Gabbie McKay of Boston, MA and Alisa McKay of Los Angeles, CA. On his last day, he played with his grandaughter Lila, who knew him as Papa K. A memorial service will be held at Jeter Memorial Funeral Home on Sunday, February 24 at 2:00pm.
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Published in The New York Times on Feb. 22, 2013