Daniel Riegert

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Daniel Riegert of Tehachapi, California passed away peacefully on October 17, 2014, in Bakersfield, one month after his 85 th birthday.

Dan was born on September 20, 1929 in Cincinnati, Ohio to Adolph and Hulda Riegert, one of seven children.

Dan attended Hughes High School in Tiffin, Ohio and in December 1946 - a year shy of graduation - Dan enlisted in the U.S. Army. He was assigned to the Counter Intelligence Corps until his discharge in 1949. The GI Bill put college within his reach and enabled him to attend Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio where he was awarded dual degrees in math and physics in 1953. During this time he also continued his military involvement by serving in the reserves. Dan was recruited out of college by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) to work as an aeronautical engineer at the High Speed Flight Research Center (HSFRC), at Edwards Air Force Base. While at Edwards, Dan went on blind date and met Florence who also worked on the base. They were married on June 14, 1955.

Dan's employer (NACA) was originally focused on the supersonic flight of fixed wing aircraft and Dan was assigned to work on the X-15, an experimental rocket plane which inspired manned space flight. In 1958, Congress approved the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and shortly thereafter, Dan and family were transferred from Edwards to Virginia's Langley Air Force Base to work with a newly formed Space Task Group. Dan was among a large group transferred to Houston, Texas in 1961 to work at the Manned Spacecraft Center (later renamed Johnson Space Center - or JSC). Dan's forte was instrumentation, and he was a conscientious and dedicated engineer and later, manager. He rose through the ranks to become Branch Chief over the General Instrumentation Group. He was recognized for his excellent work on the subsystems for ten missions of the Apollo program. To recall him tell it, those were unforgettable days. He remembered the dedicated personnel - both men and women - who worked at HSFRC, in the STG, and later at JSC - and how the challenge of the space race was so exciting that many nights the guys simply lost track of time and worked late into the night.

While working at JSC and living on Clear Lake, just south of Houston, Dan also dabbled in City government and was a Councilman for Clear Lake Shores and president of the Civic Association.

When Dan retired from NASA in 1979, he and Lore returned to California where he put his engineering skills to use building their home in Tehachapi. Not one to sit still, Dan continually had a project underway at home and even tried his hand as a real estate broker. Dan started a local chapter of Ex NACA and NASA employees who gathered monthly for fellowship and to catch up on news.

Dan loved to spend time with his grandchildren: Ralph III and Brandi Linkenhoker, Sean and Kevin Riegert, and John-Michael, Kerry, and Patrick Burke. They looked up to him for his input and wisdom and in turn, he was proud of them and enjoyed hearing about their adventures, their challenges, and their successes.

Preceding Dan in death are his brothers Robert, Philip, and Paul. Left to cherish his memory are his wife of 59 years Lore, daughters Tina (Riegert) Burke and her husband Tom of Bakersfield, Stacy (Riegert) Linkenhoker of Tehachapi, and son Mark Riegert and wife Martha Bishop of Houston, Texas. In addition to his seven grandchildren, are two great grandchildren, Alison and Abigail Linkenhoker. Also surviving are sisters Margie (Robert) Rafner of Bethesda, Maryland, Rosemary (John) Havill of Stanton, California, brother Thomas (Marianne) Riegert of Poolesville, Maryland and sister-in-law Carol Riegert of Hamilton, Ohio.

Dan was fortunate to have played a part in the amazing quest for manned space flight. He had a remarkable life, enjoyed the journey, and relished the people he met along the way. We miss him more than words can say. Dan, Dad, Grandpa, Great Grandpa, we love you to the moon and back!

A memorial service and burial will be held January 9, 2015 at 2:00 at the Bakersfield National Cemetery in Arvin, California. In lieu of flowers please contribute to the .

Published on yourbayareanews.com from Nov. 24 to Dec. 7, 2014
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