Albert Eugene Gresham
Albert Eugene Gresham
  • October 4, 1920 - August 11, 2017
  • Huntsville, Alabama

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Albert Eugene Gresham

Albert Eugene Gresham, was born October 4th, 1920 in Pana, Illinois. He died suddenly while on an outing in Knoxville, TN on Friday, Aug 11th, 2017. He was 96. He is predeceased in death by his wife of 65 years, Minta B Parks Gresham. He is also predeceased in death by his sisters Juanita Gresham Brownback of Pana and Helen Gresham Lockhart of Northfield, VT.

He is survived by daughters Cheryl Gresham Given of Knoxville, TN, Rhonda Gresham Brockett of Lilburn, GA, and son, Ronald Jay Gresham of Lexington, AL. He has 9 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren.

He began his education at Sunny Yard School, a one room country school until grade 9. He then attended Pana High School, graduating in 1939. After graduation he received a full scholarship to Greenville College in Greenville, IL. After completing 2 years of college, he joined the Marines at the onset of WWII. A short while after enlisting, he was sent to OCS and eventually began training in electronics and radars, even though he had aspired to be a Marine Pilot. The Corps had other plans and sent him to schools and universities in California, Texas, Utah, and North Carolina to learn this new technology. He met his future wife, Minta B Parks, in Corpus Christi, Texas where she was working as a bookkeeper in a large hotel. They married in 1945 in New Bern, NC near Cherry Point where he was stationed at the time.

After the war, Gene attended Texas A&I University in Kingsville Texas. He graduated with a B.S. degree in physics and immediately got hired as a petroleum engineer by Haliburton Oil Company. Because of the extensive travel across the oil fields of south Texas with a growing family he accepted a more family -friendly, (although lower paying) job as a civil servant at Kessler Air Force base in Biloxi, MS. There he taught electronics and continued his work with radars.

In 1956 he was transferred to his last job: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL. He lived there for 60 years. While working at NASA Mr. Gresham worked primarily on the Saturn V which would propel the Apollo 11 to the moon, and enable Neil Armstrong to take his famous walk on July 20, 1969. His last project at NASA was with Skylab.

He retired from NASA at age 53 in 1973.

Shortly after retiring from NASA, Mr. Gresham finally realized his dream of becoming a pilot. He received his pilot’s license and frequently flew with his wife to visit his family and friends. He always loved traveling to new places with his wife and best friend. Their favorite place was Kona, Hawaii where they spent the month of January for many years. However, visiting and doting on grandchildren seemed to be their favorite pastime.

A celebration of his rich and full life will be at Valhalla Funeral Home in Huntsville, AL on Aug 19, with Visitation at 1:00 PM and Celebration of Life at 3PM. All are invited to attend.