| We wish Gary well
on this his Ultimate Journey and thank him for his remarkable life.
His family and friends do miss him.
his entire life, Gary Close had a keen interest in science and
space. He was born on January 16, 1940, in Fairmont, West Virginia.
In junior high school, Gary and a friend founded the first astronomy
club in the area.
As an adult Gary traveled extensively, mailing
to his family a flow of postcards from exotic places throughout
the world. For a while, he even worked in the space program. He
finally settled in the Roanoke, Virginia, area.
In Roanoke he began his long association with the
Science Museum of Western Virginia. He devoted his life to the
teaching of astronomy, beginning as a museum volunteer and eventually
becoming the Director of the Hopkins Planetarium. Gary enjoyed
sharing his love and knowledge of space by conducting countless
star shows at the planetarium for students of all ages, and by
participating in many international astronomy conferences.
Gary also combined his passion for star gazing
with hiking, serving as an officer and trail maintainer of the
Appalachian Trail Club.
Space and science remained Gary's first love, even
at his untimely death on February 1, 1999. He left his collection
of more than 1,100 volumes of science fiction books to the local
Science Fiction Club. His collection of telescopes and star charts
are used today by the Roanoke Valley Astronomical Society in which
he was an active force.
Perhaps Gary's greatest legacy is the MegaDome
70-mm Theater inside the Hopkins Planetarium, his brainchild.
The project has been funded in part by his estate.
During his life, Gary enriched the lives of so
many people with his noted "Gary Humor" and his love
of space and science. He continues to do so with his unselfish
Gary's last request was to have his ashes sent
into space, where his dreams have always resided. We wish Gary
well on this his Ultimate Journey and thank him for his remarkable
life. His family and friends do miss him.