O Pioneers!

Here is the first part of the list of the good pioneering folks who were first to like the facebook page, or the georgerstewart wordpress blog.

People are listed in the order they’re listed on the facebook like page.  I’ve tried to give information about each that is accurate, but please feel free to send corrections if you’d like and I’ll update this:

Dinah Showman.  Dinah has a degree from Cornell, is on the State Board of the California PTA, and was the daily manager of four NASA Educators in ten states and the Pacific Territories (a job which she did in a 3/4 time position.)  Dinah was also the first editor of the GRS biography.

Beth Lapachet.  Beth is from the esteemed Lapachet clan.  I first met her at the family home when she was a tot.  Beth excels in crew, works as a physical therapist at Kaiser SF, and travels widely with her husband Brian Byrne.

Rich Lapachet.  Another of the clan, Rich has a background in exercise physiology, but currently focuses on raising his kids, making excellent beer, and acting as a co-catalyst for Yosemite trips.

Olivia Herrera is a beach buddy from the Avila area.  We shared many sun-days and fine beach chats there.  Olivia is now catering in the Chico area.

Benn Pikayvit is a Piute Elder who I met while working at Pipe Springs National Monument (which is surrounded by the Southern Piute Nation).   Benn is an interpretive ranger who does a fine job of sharing the Piute story of the area with park visitors.  The highlights of my time at the Monument included joining Benn on a hike into the Nation to one of John Wesley Powell’s survey markers; and joining him on another hike to sacred Petroglyph sites.

Martyn Fogg.  Martyn may make his living as a dentist in London, but his is one of the greatest minds in this early space age.  His book on terraforming Mars is a classic, and has become quite collectible.  When I hear Martyn speak, I think that listening to Newton must have been similar.  Martyn also makes a very good mead.

Anna Estrada is a doctor, a musician, and the lady-partner of my musician brother Ray.  Anna has been a kind a gracious hostess at their home in San Francisco.  I’ve been lucky to hear them perform a couple of times at the Cliff House.  She has also been a driving force behind 3 CDs, which Ray has produced, and which contains his playing and her singing.  VOLANDO is the latest, and highly recommended.

Andrew Chaikin is an historian of the Space Age, an author, and one of the greatest living experts on the Apollo Era.  His book, A MAN ON THE MOON, was the basis for Tom Hanks’ HBO series, FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON.  Andrew also plays a pretty mean guitar.

Brian Byrne.  Beth’s husband, the leading expert in the world on visa cards that use chip technology, and a former vice-president of Visa.  Brian has just retired from Visa to become Director of a group of international banks that use the Visa chip system.  He and Beth have a beautiful home in San Francisco, a condo on Australia’s Gold Coast, and two fine children — one of whom, Michaela, just directed her first play at the University of Michigan.  Brian thinks the movie BABETTE’S FEAST is boring — yet loves to play cricket.

Terri Jarvis is a Canadian Calgarian Cousin, once known as “Little T.”  She was one of the very first to like this page, maybe the first, and thus deserves great honor.  Terri sends Canadian family news south on Facebook, when she’s not selling Watkins home products.

Son Ken Scott carries on the Scott family’s San Francisco traditions.  He’s the fifth generation to live in the City – starting with his great-great Grandfather who arrived in the 1870s and went to work as a Cable Car Gripman the day the first line opened.  He, his son, his grandson, and his great-grandson (that’s me) all stopped for a drink or a light meal at the now-legendary Buena Vista Cafe.  Ken is the smart one — he went to work at the BV, where he can whip up a fine Irish Coffee while making any customer feel at home and appreciated.  Ken also has talent as an artist and writer.

Granddaughter   Megan Ashley Scott  carries on another family tradition – acting.  Her grandmother Barbara Lannin Wren Scott worked as an assistant film editor for DeMille in the silent days; her grandmother Patricia Pancoast Reed acted in college drama.  Megan is currently pursuing her interests in the local Children’s Theatre in her area north of Salt Lake City.

Michael Sims. Michael is a NASA and CONTACT colleague of many years standing.  He was for some years the manager of the Intelligent Mechanisms Laboratory at NASA-Ames, designing software for the Mars rovers (as I understand it)  that would allow relatively simple commands to be used in their complex tasks.  He has also worked for the Stanford Peace Innovations Lab.

Bob Valen.  I met Bob in our salad years, when he was tagging Bass for California Fish and Game at Thornton State Beach, where I was a Ranger.  Bob went to work for Ft. Point National Historic Site, and then worked in several national parks, eventually retiring as Chief of Interpretation and Resource Management at Big Thicket National Preserve.  After retirement, he was Executive Director of the Edison Museum in Beaumont, Texas; then moved to Grand Coulee, Washington, where his wife, Janet, had taken an NPS job at Roosevelt Lake National Recreation Area.  Bob’s done many things in his life, but for me, his bit of immortality is the part he played — deputy sheriff — in THE ATTACK OF THE KILLER TOMATOES.

Mark Dangerfield.  I’ve never met Mark, who lives in Chicago.  He liked the page because he liked the book, THE LIFE AND TRUTH OF GEORGE R. STEWART.  I do know that Mike is quite a reader, and a lover of music, and I am honored to have him like this page.

Baiba Strads.  A Librarian at the esteemed Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley — the Library which houses the George Rippey Stewart, Jr, Papers AND the Mark Twain Papers — Baiba has played an important role in the GRS biography.  For one thing, she helped when I was doing research at the Library.  For another, she and her husband gave invaluable last-minute research help when I was finishing the work and could not travel to the Library in person.  And most important, Baiba is in the book, because she is part of the history of George R. Stewart — she babysat the Stewart grandchildren in the home on Codornices.   One of the great joys of writing the book was to be able to include Baiba and others like her, thus guaranteeing a slight modicum of immortality for them and a very important acknowledgement of the importance of such as Baiba, folks often overlooked in history.

Mary Valleau.  One of my favorite people, and the person who opened the door to NASA.  Mary shares a similar work history with me — NPS and NASA — so we hit it off immediately.    Mary encouraged me to apply for the bedrest study and the NASA Educator position, so an entire chunk of my life is owed to her.  Her philosophy of life — “I’ve always wanted to know what was around the next corner.”  — has guided me for years.

Dan Ryan.  I met Dan Ryan on the Upper Missouri in Montana at a local cafe.  He burst into the place, asking me if I needed parts for the Chinook (he had a toyota pickup or two at his place).  Then he invited me to stay with him, since he had RV connections.  Dan is a Montanan descended from Montanans.  One of his relatives was the personal secretary of one of the copper kings.  Dan, after retirement, decided to build a straw bale house not far from one of Lewis and Clark’s campsites.  Although he has arthritis, he would walk up into his wood lot, cut trees, and move them down to the building site by himself, and by hand.  The house was a gem, and an inspiration.  The winters up there are cold – but it is as warm as toast in the house.  Dan also played a minor part in one of the “land rush” westerns; and he’s mentioned in a chapter of a book about the river.  The writer was impressed because Dan almost single-handedly saved an important Lewis and Clark site that was slated for development.  Dan lives quite comfortably with his dog buddies, and I hope to visit him again when time permits.

Donnelyn Curtis.  Donnelynn is the Librarian in charge of the second largest George R. Stewart collection on Earth, at the Knowledge Center at the University of Nevada, Reno.  She was a great help in the research for my book.  She also redid the GRS splash page for the collection – there’s a link in this page’s top menu.  Writing this reminds me that I owe Donnelyn a copy of Ken Carpenter’s list of the collection – and as soon as I can get into the storage locker I’ll dig it out.

This list will be continued as time permits.  So Steve, Phil, Paul, Julie, Mike Diane, Frank, Gus, Hartmut, Paula — and the other web log folks who are kind enough to respond to it — will be showcased in the near future.

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