William Richard Galt Duane, Jr.
1928 - 1996
"Me vida es tuya 4-15-63"
"Dick" Duane, Jr. was a Renaissance man for the Space
Age. Inquisitive and accomplished, he was passionate about space
Born May 2, 1928 in New York City, Dick was the seventh generation
of Duanes in the United States. During the Depression, Dick lived
in Mallorca, Spain, and was reared by loving parents who provided
a strong foundation for creative intellectual independence. His
literary taste was extensive. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L.
Frank Baum was his first "reader" - and probable source
of his love for science and fantasy. His pursuit of Baum's Oz
books culminated in a fully assembled collection of the works.
Dick's fascination with astronomy, science fiction, technology,
space exploration, and space flight manifested itself in his childhood
and grew through adulthood. He valued the quest for knowledge
and the ability to pioneer contributions in varied fields. In
his life, Dick sought and achieved both.
One of Dick's marked characteristics was his fairness and charitableness
toward others. He was a reflective, creative, logical thinker
- a man of moral virtues who delighted in using puns. His patriotism
After serving in World War II and the U. S. Army of Occupation
in Germany as a radio and communications technician, he entered
Union College, majoring in physics. In the early '50s he worked
for Bell Laboratories at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
Nicknamed "Space," he tested components of Nike and
Nike Zeus anti-aircraft systems and was granted a patent: "Muliplex
System Employing Polar Modulation" - a method of simultaneously
transmitting two messages over the same radio frequency.
As an electrical/communication engineer, technical writer, radar
expert, test director, computer programmer, system analyst, pilot,
amateur astronomer, and amateur radio operator, Dick's skills
were versatile and expert. His technical contributions to the
space industry have been commemorated at The U.S. Space Walk of
Fame Foundation memorial in Titusville, Florida. Dick's creative
side found expression as an award-winning photographer, actor
To dream of space flight was as innate to Dick as "Somewhere
Over the Rainbow" was to Dorothy. This ardent interest in
space exploration played out professionally as Dick was part of
that industry from its infancy. He was the first amateur radio
operator to record the beep transmitted by the Russian satellite
Sputnik. On Project Mercury he was the defense projects communication
engineer assigned to Bermuda and responsible for the intercommunication
philosophy in operation at Mercury locations. He invented "dual
monitoring" and the hierarchy of communications concept now
used universally by missile ranges. When America sent Alan B.
Shepard on his sub-orbital flight in 1961, Dick was the Bermuda
flight controller. He was planning engineer on the Safeguard System
in Kwajalein, Marshall Islands, and test director for the first
intercontinental ballistic missile track from Meck Island.
Dick lived life true to himself. All those who knew him lost
a true friend and wise counselor; the world, a high-minded advanced
Seldom we find a delicate flower that seems to be particularly
favored by nature and grows above others, sustained by firm roots
and a strong stem: such was the person of W. Richard Galt Duane,