Dr. Claudia Alexander
1959 - 2015
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Dr. Claudia Alexander
May 30, 1959 - July 11, 2015
Resident of Bay Area
Pioneering JPL Space Plasma Physicist Dr. Claudia Alexander Dies at 56. As Project Scientist for NASA's Galileo and Rosetta Missions, She Inspired Budding Scientists, Particularly Young African-American Women, to Pursue STEM Careers.
Dr. Claudia Joan Alexander waited 15 years for the moment last fall when a spacecraft the size of a washing machine would make a historic landing on a comet and potentially help unlock the origins of the solar system. As the project scientist representing NASA in the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, it would be one of the highlights of an exciting career at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena.
Alexander died on July 11, 2015 from breast cancer.
"The passing of Claudia Alexander reminds us of how fragile we are as humans but also as scientists how lucky we are to be part of planetary science," James Green, director of NASA's Planetary Science Division, said in a statement. "She and I constantly talked about comets. Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko in particular. She was an absolute delight to be with and always had a huge engaging smile when I saw her. It was easy to see that she loved what she was doing. We lost a fantastic colleague and great friend. I will miss her."
Alexander was born on May 30, 1959 in Vancouver, British Columbia to Harold and Gaynelle Alexander. She was raised in the heart of what would become the Silicon Valley in Santa Clara, California and graduated from Buchser High school in 1977, where senior year she was elected student body president and most likely to succeed. She then went to the University of California at Berkeley, where she landed an internship at NASA Ames Research Center, which ignited her interested in planetary science. She graduated in 1983 with a degree in Geophysics. After Berkeley she went to UCLA, graduating in 1985 with a degree in Geophysics and Space Physics then she went to the University of Michigan, graduating in 1993 with a PhD in Space Plasma Physics. She immediately joined JPL, where she stayed for the rest of her career.
Alexander became a media darling after she became the project manager on the Galileo mission to Jupiter. She appeared regularly on the Discovery Channel, PBS and NPR. Last year, she was profiled on the front page of the Los Angeles Times. Alexander's work was recognized in other ways as well. Most recently, she was named the 2015 Woman of the Year in the 25th Senate district by State Senator Carol Liu. In 2003, she was awarded the Emerald Honor for Women of Color in Research & Engineering by Career Communications Group, Inc. In 1993, she was named Woman of the Year by the Association for Women Geoscientists.
Determined to inspire young people to pursue science, Alexander wrote a series of fictional children's books. She was a great pie baker, a lover of horseback riding and the outdoors, a doll maker and a huge fan of professional tennis. She was a member of the American Geophysical Union, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Pasadena Chapter of The Links, Inc., as well as a member of the Christian Science Church.
Alexander is survived by her mother, Gaynelle Alexander (San Jose), her brother David Alexander [Shawanda] (San Jose), her sister, Suzanne Alexander (Los Angeles), two nieces, Bria Victoria Alexander and Carol Jasmine Ryan and two nephews, Brandon Jiles Alexander and Robert John Ryan.
A memorial service will be held on August 8th at 11 a.m. at Oak Hill Funeral Home and Memorial Park Chapel of the Roses, 300 Curtner Ave., San Jose.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to a scholarship fund established in Alexander's name to support young people pursuing the sciences: http://www.gofundme.com/Dr-Alexander

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Aug. 2, 2015.
Memories & Condolences
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54 entries
February 22, 2019
Es tut mir sehr Leid, da Sie von uns gegangen ist. Ich bin sehr traurig.
Danke Claudia.
Antonio Carlos Vendemiati
January 5, 2018
I just watched a documentary about Jupiter with her in it and thought wow, she's really impressive. Only saddened to find out she passed away. So sorry for your loss. What a fantastic person.
Tyron Foston
November 28, 2016
November 25, 2016
Valenda Newell
October 19, 2016
I only knew Ms. Alexander from her appearances on "How the Universe Works" via the Science Channel. I loved her smile and sparkling eyes..... but most of all her enthusiasm for her work is what draws one in. The enjoyment of her work and her passion for it would light up her face. Fortunately there are re-runs of those shows so we can see her at her happy best there. Now.... she truly is out among the stars and comets she loved so very much. God Speed!

Reverend Joe E. Ruyle
Wichita Falls, Texas
Joe Ruyle
December 21, 2015
You will be missed signed a common man
John Schenk
December 11, 2015
Ms. Alexander family we are sorry for your loss. Something that has help my family to endure are the many blessing that God made through his son Christ Jesus.
Evans family
October 21, 2015
Dios desea que la humanidad ya no sufra y en revelasion 21.3.4 nos lo asegura
October 4, 2015
Condolences to the loved ones of Claudia Alexander -

We will remember the good deeds of your dear Claudia. Please draw close to family and friends for support during these difficult times ahead without her and from comforting scriptural citations on this wonderful website.
Psalm 62:8
September 27, 2015
To the family of Claudia Alexander my condolences on your loss. Word cannot express the and sorrow one experience during this time. May god bring you peace and comfort in the days a head.
September 21, 2015
To the family l,
I send my condolences. Know that God is wanting to comfort you as you mourn your loss. He gives the peace that surpasses all human power. Philipians 4:6,7 May you experience that peace.
August 13, 2015
Rise In Power, Soror Claudia!!!
Akosua Kae
August 8, 2015
Having met Claudia at first through a close friend, then later given the opportunity to attend one of her Rosetta presentations I was amazed at her depth of knowledge, intelligence and ability to inspire and communicate the wondrous details of space exploration.
Please accept my deepest condolences to Claudia's family, friends and colleagues.
Karen Klaas
August 5, 2015
Claudia always had a big smile and eyes wide with curiosity and excitement. She made us laugh with her good sense of humor.
We met at UC Berkeley our first day and became roommates. Roomies Audrey, Patty, and Barbara will always miss her. Gone too soon.
Barbara Lilley
July 31, 2015
My sincere condolence to the family for Gof may make your hearts firm at such a time. 1Thess. 3:13
July 31, 2015
My one wish is that my life proves to be equal in fulfillment as Claudia Alexander. What an inspiring example she set in the field of Astrophysics. Be assured that Claudia is sleeping peacefully until we inherit the many promises in God's word. (Matthew 6:9-10) My deepest sympathy for the loss of a cherished loved one!
Brenda Carter
July 30, 2015
Claud you are resting with the angels now. I cannot believe you are gone. You were my best friend for thirty-eight years. I will miss our talks and the inspiration that you provided me. My prayers go out to your family. You were one of a kind. I was so fortunate to have you in my life.
Love Patty (San Jose, CA)
Patricia Friedman
July 30, 2015
May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived.
S. Walker
July 30, 2015
Rest in Paradise Claudia!! The heavens will roar loud and clear now Angel!!!
Donna Ward
July 30, 2015
Our deepest condolences at this time of difficulty , may the words at John 16:22, bring solace and peace to the family at this time....Ruth (Ca).
July 30, 2015
My deepest sympathy to the Alexander family. May you find peace during this difficult time.
Kathleen Herold
July 29, 2015
With deepest sympathy to the friends and family of Dr. Alexander. May God be with you and may his promises be of great comfort. 1 Cor. 15:26. -
July 21, 2015
I cannot find the words to express the sorry that I feel right now. Claudia, you will always be that beacon, that shining star for all of us. I will always remember your kindness and good humor. I am so proud to have had you for a friend and miss you deeply.
Frank Hall
July 21, 2015
Beloveds, I know she will truly be missed. My sincere condolences to all who knew her and loved her as we await the wonderful time when no one will ever again be sick . . .
July 20, 2015
My condolences on your loss. Words can't describe the pain and sorrow one goes through. Know that our Heavenly Father cares and is a comforted when one is going through the loss of a loved one. May he give you peace and strength.
July 20, 2015
I Would like to express my sincere condolences to the Alexander Family. May the love of those around you help you through days ahead. Hold tight and cherished all the wonderful memories and tender moments that Claudia has contriuted to your beautiful family.
G Alexander
July 20, 2015
Mary Green
July 20, 2015
My deepest sympathy to the family. May the God of all comfort be with you during this difficult time.
July 20, 2015
Our deepest sympathies to Dr. Alexander's family. Even though we did not know her, we were fortunate enough to see the Rosetta Project on PBS and were very much intrigued by her enthusiasm for her lead role. It shined through how much she loved her life's work. May her spirit and love of astrophysics carry on to the next generation.
July 20, 2015
Please accept my heartfelt sympathies for your loss. My thoughts are with Ms Alexanders'family during this difficult time. She was such a beautiful person.
July 20, 2015
Condolences to the family.
July 20, 2015
My deepest condolences to the family on her passing. may the father helps you cope with your pain as you continue to endure Mrs Alexander's death. Search for his strength. Seek his face constantly he will comfort you.Psalm 105:4,5
July 19, 2015
So sorry for your loss, we all are looking forward to the day when John 5:25 will come true for all the ones we love and lost. W.J.
July 19, 2015
To the family of Ms. Alexander,
My heartfelt prayers go out to you at the loss of your loved on.
Claudia and I met in 1986 while on vacation in Jamaica. We lost touch over the years but I continued to follow her career.
I will always cherish fond memories of her warm spirit and easy smile.
Maurice (Carl) Smith
July 19, 2015
It is never easy to lose a loved one, I pray you find comfort in Gods promise found at John 6:40 which says that soon we will see all our loved ones again. My deepest condolences to the family.
July 19, 2015
So proud of you. The Angels in Heaven welcome you home, Rest in Peace.
Garland Perkins
July 19, 2015
My deepest condolence goes out to the family during this difficult time. May God provide you with the strength and comfort you need as you cope with your loss. (Psalms 9:9)
July 19, 2015
Be comforted in knowing that God is with you during this difficult time and
that there are friends that also share your sorrow with you. I find Psalm
121 to be very comforting during these times
July 19, 2015
Dr. Alexander, Thanks for your outstanding contributions to space exploration and the inspiration your work demonstrated to sustain our national space program. Remember all of us down here when you take the place reserved for you in the heavens with Almighty God. Well done, good and faithful servant!
Deepest sympathy to your family members and colleagues, Chris Fleming
Chris Fleming
July 19, 2015
A life well lead and now a brilliant new star for the heavens.
July 19, 2015
I am sorry for your great loss. I hope that the promise found in Hosea 13:14 can bring you some comfort. Knowing that there is a future for the ones we have lost in death can be so reassuring.

My deepest condolences.
L. Smith
July 19, 2015
you were a trailblazer with little glory....your works shall not be forgotten. I would take one of you to twenty of todays female celebrities. May your spirit soar high and touch the face of God
July 19, 2015
You broke the "glass ceiling" and it was easier for the Angels to take you HOME. Rest well in your new mansion. To your Loved Ones, my sympathy.
Patricia Barbee
July 19, 2015
God bless you and your loved ones, Claudia ~ Rest in peace.
Jane Dowling
July 19, 2015
We'll miss you !
Adrian Barnette
July 19, 2015
Rest in Peace
Scott Chamberland
July 19, 2015
Agnes Shepperson
July 19, 2015
In God's care rest in peace
Dwayne Bickham,Sr.
July 19, 2015
Melanie Wheaton and family
July 19, 2015
Accomplished ,beautiful , and gone too soon. R.I.P.
Lesa Martin
July 19, 2015
God bless you Claudia and all those who love you. Rest in eternal Peace.
July 19, 2015
Thank you for your work in exploration of our universe. We need more of you in the world. You will be missed.
July 18, 2015
I am so very sorry to hear of Claudia's passing.
My mother and I attended Dr. Claudia Alexander presentation on the Rosetta mission at a JPL lecture night. We were both so taken by her warmth, wisdom and humor. I will remember her always.
Dorothy Wakamatsu
July 14, 2015
David and the entire Alexander family, I am so sorry to hear of Claudia's passing. I had been following her career for awhile and am amazed at all of her accomplishments. David, I remember you as far back as Mariposa and I have never forgotten your little brother. You have my deepest sympathy .
Claire Donovan
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