Local Veteran, 100, Enthralls With Adventure Tales

Photo by Mary Emily Myers / OUTLOOK
Joe Giocomarra (center), a World War II veteran of the Merchant Marine who turned 100 on Monday, rode in this year’s Fiesta Days parade after introducing himself at the Memorial Ceremony in the park beforehand.

For the past couple decades, over glasses of wine or the occasional margarita, Joe Giocomarra has regaled his pal Tom Caulfield with tales of his fascinating, improbable life.
Giocomarra, one of only about 558,000 World War II veterans still living, turned 100 on Memorial Day.
“I have the privilege of reaching 100,” Giocomarra said. “That’s a privilege a lot of people don’t [have]. And, I don’t know, I really shouldn’t be here.”
Giocomarra retains vivid memories of the war, when he served with the U.S. Merchant Marine, a collection of ships populated by civilian volunteers transporting materials, supplies, equipment and troops to help fight and win World War II. Continue reading “Local Veteran, 100, Enthralls With Adventure Tales”

JPL Hosts ‘Inspiring Visit’ by VP Pence

Photos courtesy NASA/Bill Ingalls
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence gives commands to a rover nicknamed “Scarecrow” as (from left) NASA Mars Exploration manager Li Fuk, Mars Curiosity Engineering Operations team chief Megan Lin, JPL Director Michael Watkins and daughter of Mike Pence, Charlotte Pence look on Saturday.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence was in the neighborhood Saturday, touring Jet Propulsion Laboratory before heading to a series of stops elsewhere in Southern California.
After his visit to the NASA campus, Pence tweeted: “Inspiring visit to Jet Propulsion Laboratory! Thanks to the team at @NASAJPL for your leadership in unmanned space exploration since 1957! Under @POTUS Trump. America is leading in space again!” Continue reading “JPL Hosts ‘Inspiring Visit’ by VP Pence”

Obituary: Gunnar F. Lindal

March 24, 1936 – Jan. 17, 2018

Gunnar F. Lindal

Gunnar F. Lindal passed away on Jan. 17 at the age of 81 due to natural causes.  He was born on March 24, 1936, in Oslo, Norway.

Gunnar came to the U.S. in 1961 to attend Stanford University on a scholarship. In 1964, he received his doctorate’s degree in electrical engineering. He worked at Stanford as a post doctoral fellow from 1964 to 1969. From 1969 to 1992, he worked at JPL as a senior research scientist and lived in La Cañada Flintridge. Gunnar participated in unmanned space missions, including the Voyager Grand Tour, and received two gold medals from NASA for his outstanding contributions. After he retired from JPL in 1992, he and his wife moved to Malibu.

Gunnar was dedicated to his family and his work. He is fondly remembered for his intelligence and brilliant mind. Gunnar F. Lindal is survived by his wife of 55 years, Wendy Lindal of Malibu; his son, John Lindal of La Cañada Flintridge; and his granddaughter.


LCUSD Reaches for the Stars

Photo by Mirjam Swanson / OUTLOOK Jeffrey Nee, a representative of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory education department, welcomes visitors to the JPL Dome during last week’s Family STEAM Night at Palm Crest Elementary School.
Photo by Mirjam Swanson / OUTLOOK
Jeffrey Nee, a representative of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory education department, welcomes visitors to the JPL Dome during last week’s Family STEAM Night at Palm Crest Elementary School.

Billed, appropriately, as a star-studded event, the district’s Family STEAM Night last week at Palm Crest Elementary school wowed 150 attendees, including 4th-grade science fan Aaron Kang, who came to build on his already flourishing astronomical expertise.
“Yeah, this is cool,” he said. “Stars are really cool.”
He and his brother, 1st-grader Elias Kang, spent the evening at school because they wanted to check out telescopes, an iPad stargazing app and, definitely, the JPL Dome stationed inside the school’s multi-purpose room.
Jeffrey Nee, a representative of the JPL education department, led the galactic tour inside the dome — a blown-up tent inside which a projection of space offered 30 stargazers at a time a far-out ride. Continue reading “LCUSD Reaches for the Stars”

Obituary: Robert Emmet Ryan

Feb. 8, 1934-Oct. 4, 2017

Robert (Bob) Emmet Ryan passed away peacefully at his home in La Cañada Flintridge on Oct. 4, 2017, at 83. Bob was born in Detroit, Michigan, on Feb. 8, 1934, to Thomas Raymond Ryan III and Lucille Margaret (Roulo) Ryan. He was the youngest of four children, with Eleanor, Mary, and Thomas.

Bob graduated from University of Detroit Jesuit High School in 1952 and attended University of Detroit’s College of engineering and science. Bob earned an associate’s degree in Engineering Design from Glendale College and later a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems from California State University Los Angeles. Bob joined JPL in 1956 and joined the Navy. Bob’s career highlighted a span of countless rocket and deep space missions including Pioneer 10 and 11 and Voyager 1 and 2, but was best known for his work as mission manager on the Stardust Mission. Stardust became the first spacecraft to successfully return cometary and interstellar dust particles to the Earth.

Bob and Kay Campbell married on June 21, 1958, and moved from Sunland to La Cañada Flintridge in 1963. They had four children; Rob, Margaret, Kathy and Tom, and nine grandchildren. Kay passed away in December. Bob and Kay are together again with God.

Mass will be held with the Rev. Tony and the Rev. Ed, followed by a reception at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 21, at St. Bede the Venerable Church in La Cañada Flintridge. Bob will be interred at Mission San Fernando Cemetery.

JPL Academy Students Delight in Discovering

Photo by Mirjam Swanson / OUTLOOK
Pinky Brandeau and Emily Sleeper were part of the “Skyentists” team, along with David Getzen, which participated in last week’s “final launch” at the Mars Yard at Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Thirty-five imaginative La Cañada High School students used a variety of contraptions, from bungee cords to hand cranks, to launch a variety of projectiles such as tennis balls, sponges and shoeboxes, skyward on Friday in the Mars Yard at Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
For the fifth year, LCHS students participated in the JPL Space Academy, an extracurricular program held in the fall that offers participants a real-world experience requiring them to work on their engineering skills — as well as business, communication and collaboration abilities. Continue reading “JPL Academy Students Delight in Discovering”

Alverno Heights Hosts Susan Finley, Pioneer at JPL

Susan G. Finley

Students at Alverno Heights Academy recently hosted Susan G. Finley, the longest-serving woman in NASA who has been employed at JPL since 1958.
At 21, Finley left Scripps College to become an engineer with a thermodynamics group at Convair in Pomona. Like most women of her generation, Finley took time off at the beginning of her career to raise a family. Then, in 1958, she took a position at JPL.
Her job required trajectory computations for rocket launches. In 1962, it was Finley’s calculation that showed that Ranger 3 missed the moon by 22,000 miles. Through her career, Finley contributed to JPL’s missions to the Moon, Mars, Venus, Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, in the Ranger, Mariner, Pioneer, Viking and Voyager programs.
Continue reading “Alverno Heights Hosts Susan Finley, Pioneer at JPL”