Memorial Spaceflights

Carlene Burton Eckroade

"Your dream fulfilled: Only 1 small step to the moon"
1938 - 2020

Carlene was born in Moberly, Missouri on August 11,1938. Her given name was Doris Carlene Burton but she always went by Carlene. She spent the last 40 years of her life on a beautiful farm in Rising Sun, Maryland with her husband where the family gathered for special events including many “farm weeks” with more than 50 close family members and close friends staying for the week.

Carlene was smart, curious and academically successful. She was the salutatorian of her high school class in Cradock, Virginia and had been awarded a full scholarship to the nursing program at Maryview Hospital in Portsmouth, Virginia. However, she had one distraction and that was the man who would soon become her husband, Robert (Bobby) Eckroade. Bobby was a year older than Carlene and was attending VPI (Virginia Tech) some 5 hours away. On November 9, 1957 they secretly eloped. Unfortunately, at that time, nursing students were not allowed to be married so Carlene left the nursing program and went to live with her husband in Blacksburg Virginia. Carlene followed her husband to Athens, Georgia and then to Madison, Wisconsin as he finished his advanced degrees. After moving to Delaware in 1970, Carlene went on to earn a B.S. Degree in Chemistry from the University of Delaware, and later a M.S. Degree in Information Sciences from Drexel University while in her 50s.

She had a successful career as a research chemist and information scientist, working for many years at Hercules and W.L. Gore and Associates. She concluded her professional career at the Cecil College library where she was instrumental in transitioning from the old index card catalogs to a fully automated library information management system.

Starting at a very young age and continuing for her entire life, Carlene had a great passion for astronomy and an unfulfilled dream to go into space and walk on the Moon. She would always say “I was born before my time”. As a young girl, Carlene spent time in the closed city of Oak Ridge, Tennessee during World War II where her father worked as part of the Manhattan Project effort to build uranium enrichment facilities for the atomic bomb.

She will be remembered most for her love, generosity and kindness to family, friends, and the many animals that enriched her life. She loved holidays, especially Christmas and she spoiled her grandchildren with an abundance of gifts because she loved seeing them so happy. Even when she was slowing down, she would take all 5 grandchildren to Toys R Us and let them spend hours picking out a toy. She loved the toy store as much as they did. When it came time for family farm week, Carlene spent countless hours organizing outings, activities, meals and making sure everyone had “good pillows” and a soft place to sleep. These are memories that all of her family and close friends treasure. She was loved and admired by so many.

Godspeed Carlene! We will never stop missing you.

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