Memorial Spaceflights

Alta Maxine Melvin

1935 - 2022

Mom was born on May 9, 1935, in Seattle, WA.

She was six years old when Pearl Harbor, HI, was attacked, bringing the U. S. into WWII. Her childhood was filled with the effects of both the Great Depression and the war. As a young adult, she was married to my father, Warren Stanley Smith, who served in the Army in the Korean War. Then, there was the Cold War, where there was always the threat of nuclear attacks by the Soviets. Through all of that, Mom was, as she put it, a "cockeyed optimist." She chose to see the good and the beauty in everything around her, thanks in many ways to our Nana (her mom) and Grandma Wheeler (Nana's stepmother). Even though my father left us when I was only a couple of months old, she was still that cockeyed optimist. She married my stepdad in 1959, and that produced my little brother, James Herbert Melvin. After 30 years of marriage, she found herself single again but really enjoyed her life. She loved ballet since she was a teenager, so she moved to NYC in 1988 to be near the heart of the ballet world. She worked at the Ballet Shop where she met many celebrities. She also got to see Mikhail Baryshnikov perform at his peak. After four years in NY, she moved back to WA. Mom was interested in so many things, like Egyptian archaeology and dinosaurs (especially as they related to modern birds). She was also fascinated by meteorites and the moon. Oh, how she loved the moon! She loved spending time on beaches collecting rocks and seashells. Among her many other collections were gems, fossils, antique postcards, and all things Art Deco. She loved all animals, but cats were definitely her favorite. She was a constant donor to the Skagit Valley Humane Society in Burlington, WA. I could go on and on about Mom, but I will sum up my time with her as a special gift. She taught me to be kind to every living being, to think for myself, and to always be curious about life and its wonders.

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