1928 - 2016
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Dr. THORA W. HALSTEAD  "Sweetie"  
NASA Scientist  August 30, 1928 ~ March 9, 2016  Of McLean, Virginia peacefully departed life at age 87 at her home on March 9, 2016 after a long illness. She is survived by her husband of 60 years, Colonel (Retired) Warren W. Halstead; daughter, Gail H. Capp; son-in-law, David J. Capp and three grandchildren, Paul Douglas Capp, Kathryn Lillian Capp and Kimberlee Lynne Capp. She was preceded in death by her son, Douglas Clay Halstead, age 19, in 1976.  She retired from NASA Life Sciences in 1994, where she was the Manager of the Space Biology Program; Life and Biomedical Sciences and Applications Division. Of note, she was the Program Scientist for the Space Shuttle launched in September 1992. Her numerous experiments and published research articles (more than 40) focused on the study of how the cells of living organisms respond to a low-gravity environment. She was a founding member and past president of the American Society for Gravitational and Space Biology (ASGSB), a 500+ member society with worldwide scientific community membership. She earned degrees in Microbiology from Washington State University (BS), the University of Texas at Austin (MS), and the University of Maryland, College Park (PhD). After retiring from NASA, in addition to consulting for the Biosciences in Space community, she enjoyed traveling, cooking, painting and making ceramics. Most of all, she enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren who called her, "Sweetie". She made specialty birthday cakes, was a guest speaker in their schools, attended their sports and academic achievement events, and helped with countless school projects.  Viewing will be on March 18 from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. at Murphy Funeral Home, 1102 West Broad Street in Falls Church, Virginia. Interment will be in Arlington National Cemetery, at a later date.www.murphyfuneralhomes.com  

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Published in The Washington Post from Mar. 13 to Mar. 17, 2016.
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Memories & Condolences
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16 entries
March 19, 2016
Please accept my sincere sympathies. May God's holy spirit or active force, equip you with the " power beyond what is normal " to go from one day to the next. ( 2 Corinthians 4 : 7 ) Remember : God can help his faithful servants to endure any and every problem they may face.
March 17, 2016
Gail and Dave,

Our deepest condolences and prayers are with you and your family. What a wonderful tribute to a lady and mother that we know you loved and admired. The sorrow will pass but the memories will live forever.

Steve & Ginger
Steve & Ginger Britton
March 16, 2016
Gail, our thoughts and prayers are with you, Dave and your family. Looking at the photos, your mom was extremely adventurous and did so much throughout her life. I'm sure she was an amazing lady. Love to you all
Trish and Eric Cooper
March 15, 2016
Thora lived an incredible life. She was a friend and a mentor to me while I was at NASA HQ when I was a young and naive NASA program manager back in the 1990's. Her spirit and commitment to space biology was unabated thus inspired so many young scientists.
Cindy Martin-Brennan
March 15, 2016
Mrs Thora W.Halstead, will be greatly miss. I loved talking to her during her Tx here at Walter Reed Dialysis.She with the angels in heaven resting in peace.Bless the family.
Charlene Sutton
March 14, 2016
I got my start in space research as a Space Biology Fellow--a program that Thora Halstead championed. She was such a strong advocate for space biology research and developed the careers of so many who are working in the field today. Thank you Thora!
Jay Buckey
March 13, 2016
Halstead family celebrating 50th anniversary.
Thora was my mentor, my best advocate, and a wonderful friend. She was a spunky lady who fought for what she knew was right. I am so fortunate to have know her and studied by her side.

My condolences to her family. She is missed by many.

Emily Holton
March 13, 2016
Thora never failed to do the best she could for her community and for the NASA life sciences program. Good job, Thora!
John Rummel
March 13, 2016
Thinking of you all at this difficult time. I always loved seeing Sweetie when I visited. What great memories the kids have of their time with her.
Linda Kasprzyk
March 13, 2016
When I first came to Washington in 1986 I had the extreme pleasure of working with Thora at NASA Headquarters. Thora learned her craft from the very first people to send living things into space and I had the distinct pleasure of learning about those early days from her. She was always fun to work with and had a soft spot when it came to young people. She was instrumental in the founding of ASGSB - now ASGSR - an organization which had the interests of students deeply embedded in its core mission. When budget cuts threatened many researchers she did her best to keep everyone's work alive and defended their interests like a mother wolverine. If anyone can be called a founder of space biology, it was Thora Halstead. Ad astra.
Keith Cowing
March 13, 2016
Thora was a fun-loving and dedicated NASA manager--hard-working to get where she was as Space Biology program manager. I worked for her for many years and admired her so for her dedication to NASA and her love of her family. Rest in peace, dear Thora. Love and condolences to the family.
Janet Powers
March 12, 2016
Thora was a friend, colleague and a mentor to many budding life scientists. Her work at NASA Life Sciences was outstanding as was her warm companionship to members of the space biology community. Our condolences to her family.

Donald & Sue Beem (Eldersburg, MD)
March 12, 2016
aloving and brave woman. who brought joy to warren and gail before gracefully accepting her fate. gone but never forgotten.
March 12, 2016
Thora was a valued member of the Life Sciences Team and it was a pleasure to have known and worked with her. My condolences to her family and God Speed Thora.
Tom Perry
March 11, 2016
My sincere sympathies to your all. Thora was warm, kind, and a lovely lady, who will surely be missed.
Debbi Pande Halvorsen
March 11, 2016
Thora was a very special lady and we are blessed to have known her.
My deepest sympathies,
Robin Pande
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