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Samuel T. Beddingfield

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Samuel T. Beddingfield Notice
Beddingfield, Samuel T. Samuel T. Beddingfield, 78, of Titusville, FL died on June 13, 2012. Sam was one of the U.S. space program?s pioneers, joining NASA on the advice of future astronaut Gus Grissom while the two friends were stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. There, Sam served as an Air Force flight test engineer on a variety of new aircraft. He arrived at what later became Kennedy Space Center in 1959, one of a handful of young rocket boys who helped shape the nation?s space program. He worked as an engineer on the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and space shuttle programs. Sam is briefly seen in archival footage used in the 1983 film ?The Right Stuff? as Alan Shepard was about to enter the capsule for his historic flight. Sam?s contributions to the shuttle program included construction of the runway at the Shuttle Landing Facility, one of the longest runways in the world. He retired from NASA in 1985 as the space center?s deputy director of space shuttle management. He went on to work as a space consultant for NBC News and for several aerospace companies. Sam was born in Clayton, N.C., and graduated from North Carolina State. He had a lifelong passion for flight, and was a pilot. He also loved to travel the world with his wife, Barbara. They both shared a love for birds, and Sam served on the board of the Merritt Island Wildlife Association. And until the end of his life he enjoyed playing the piano. Family and friends will always think of him when they hear Scott Joplin?s ?The Entertainer.? Sam was preceded in death by his wife, Barbara. Sam was a friend to many and will be remembered for his generous heart. He is survived by his daughters, Nan Lafferty and Beth Mathis; foster daughter Debbie Ellis; four grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church of Titusville. Arrangements by North Brevard Funeral Home. Instead of flowers the family asks that contributions be made to the U.S. Space Walk of Fame Museum in Titusville, or to First Presbyterian.
Published in the Orlando Sentinel on June 14, 2012
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