Harris "Bud" McIntosh Schurmeier
July 4, 1924 - November 23, 2013
Harris "Bud" McIntosh Schurmeier passed away Saturday November 23, 2013 after a wonderful and distinguished life.
Bud was born in St. Paul Minnesota on July 4, 1924. At a young age he became very interested in human flight and went on to earn both a master's and professional engineering degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Caltech. He also became a Navy pilot while in school. Bud then worked for Jet Propulsion Laboratory and played major roles in many space missions. Bud was put in charge of the Ranger Program to locate suitable landing sites on the moon during the heat of the space race. He was project manager for the Voyager spacecraft which launched in 1977. Today, Voyager I is more than 11.7 Billion miles from Earth, traveling at nearly 100,000 mph. It is the fastest and furthest object ever built by humans. It is still sending valuable data and just became the first manmade object to leave our solar system.
Voyager is one of mankind's greatest achievements in the exploration of space.
He was technical pioneer and leader of the space program during its infancy and was awarded a medal by President Johnson for his outstanding contributions and achievements. He possessed a keen intellect and absolute respect for unvarnished truth in all matters related to engineering and science. He built hypersonic wind tunnels for NASA that paved the way for Shuttle design ("It wasn't that hard until we went past Mach 3. Then it started to get tricky
"). He played a key role in discovering the cause of Apollo 13's explosion and later investigated the Shuttle disaster. When JPL or NASA needed to know ground truth, Bud was their Go to Guy.
Bud was also a man many of hobbies. He was a phenomenal skier, sailor, surfer and soaring enthusiast. He was a traveler, a story teller and an educator. In his later life Bud became an avocado farmer, avid motor glider instructor pilot, active community member, and utilities commissioner for Northern San Diego County . He was generous and brilliant, and had a zest for life that was unmatched.
Bud is survived by his children Harris Schurmeier (Laurie), Sydne Luebe (Troy) and Dennis Schurmeier (Sherry) as well as his brothers Ben Schurmeier, Robert Schurmeier and his sister Betty Lou Christensen. He is preceded in death by his son Alan Schurmeier and his wife Betty Jo Schurmeier. Bud also has seven loving grandchildren; Harris "Mac" Schurmeier, Lindsey Luebe, Jenna Schurmeier, Bryce Luebe, Lauren Schurmeier, Jake Schurmeier and Brenden Schurmeier.
A celebration of life will be held in Bud's honor during the spring/early summer. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the California Surf Museum, The Planetary Society or The Soaring Society of America.