John Cox, Granite Flight

Keith's note: I just learned that John Cox passed away last night after a lengthy illness. I got to know John very well when I worked for him at the Space Station Freedom Program Office in Reston (Level II). Those of you who also worked there will recall that it was a place where people often expressed their opinions with little restraint - and it got to be rather boisterous at times. In contrast, John always seemed to be one of the calmest people in the room.

John had quite an unusual background for someone who rose through the ranks at Mission Control (where he was known as "Granite Flight") - his doctorate was in biomedical engineering. As such, he always seemed to have a slightly different angle on things than the typical NASA manager - and he did not need a bunch of acronyms to express that view.

When we were shut down during the space station redesign effort John was among the leaders who pushed to complete our assigned tasks with dignity and professionalism at a time when a lot of people just gave up and sat in their offices waiting for reassignment. John loved his parties too - something all of us at Reston indulged in - with great frequency. There won't be a formal service for John until this summer - but when it is held there will be an Irish wake. There are a lot of people inside and outside of the agency who worked with/for John at one point or another. He'll be missed.

Oh yes: there was that time when John showed up at a Halloween party in the lobby at Parkridge with a paper bag on his head. "The Unknown NASA Reston employee" was his disguise. Those of us who were there laughed our asses off. You see, in the finest of NASA traditions, our management shared our pain.

That was John. Ad astra.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on March 11, 2012 7:18 PM.

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