Memorial Spaceflights

Gilbert Louis Pico

"'No goodbyes, just good memories' - Lt. Yar"
1952 - 2022

Gilbert “Gil” Louis Pico, age 70, of San Diego, California passed away on Friday, December 30, 2022 after a long and courageous battle with cancer. Gil was born in 1952 in Dayton, Ohio to parents Louis Ceyetano Pico Jr. and Girard Parker, and was the second of four siblings.

The Pico Family moved to the Crown Point area of San Diego when Gil was a young boy, where he attended Crown Point Elementary, Pacific Beach Junior High and graduated from La Jolla High School’s Class of 1971. He ran track and cross-country for the varsity team and won an award in automotive mechanics. Extracurricular talents included being a drummer in the Albacore Drum & Bugle Corps. He developed a fearless love for the outdoors around this time, being sparked by a survival course with Outward Bound, and spent his free time rock climbing in Mission Gorge, trail riding off-road motorcycles, and camping. Twice, he completed the 73-mile Ensenada to Tecate bicycle race.

He had a passion for photography and studied at San Diego City College, where he would spend many nights in the converted dark-room in the family home. During and after college, he worked in film processing for Thompson’s Photo Service. Around this time, he also worked with a watch repair business in La Jolla, a technical challenge that would greatly interest him for years. He worked a side job refueling freight trains, more for fun and hobby, which allowed him to foster his avid interest in them. He was a foreman for Graybill Terminals for many years, which would eventually lead to a storied career and retirement as a union commercial tractor-trailer driver for 32 years with Giese Trucking, a contractor for the US Postal Service. 

Gilbert was also a Californio, a proud descendant of the original Spanish colonists of California. He spent many, many years researching his family's genealogy, and loved meeting cousins and other descendants of early California and Alta California.

To say Gil had many interests would be understating a brilliant and beautiful mind. His son Ken recalls that he referred to himself as “a jack of all trades and a master of none,” to which Ken replied that he didn’t know anyone with more mastery on anything. He spent long hours on the road as a truck driver with his son, making fond memories listening to audiobooks, podcasts and classic radio programs. In his later years, he spent time studying Computer Science at UC San Diego and helped tutor college students in programming. It was in his character always to teach and to learn. 

Gil was also a hobbyist astronomer, chemist, scientist, programmer, mechanic, builder, and car and motorcycle enthusiast. Anyone who knew him knew that he would, regardless of the time of day and without complaint, offer his knowledge and expertise to fixing whatever problem was at hand. He is remembered fondly for his commitment to his loved ones, selfless friendship, and boundless insight. Gilbert had the biggest heart and an amiable charisma that put strangers at ease from the outset. For much of the decade prior to retirement, he was an integral part of the Christmastime “Toys for Tots” charity, serving under-represented communities in Southeast San Diego. Every year, he and his semi truck, decorated inside-and-out and loaded up with thousands of toys and bicycles, would parade into the neighborhoods escorted by “Santa” on his Harley for the much-anticipated giveaway. 

 He is preceded in death by his beloved mother Girard “Gerry” and is survived by his father Louis Jr., his son Kenneth and Kenneth’s mother Denise Slack. He is also survived by his siblings in order from eldest: Andrés, Roger and Antonia along with many adoring nieces and nephews. He is dearly missed as a father, friend, brother, uncle and son.

Special thanks to the staff of Kaiser Permanente Zion Medical Center for their tireless support, care and attention in Gilbert’s diagnosis.

Gil was a longtime fan of science-fiction and fantasy, a  special bond that he shared with friends and family. May he rest in eternal peace, free from pain.

"A kid with a telescope, to a man racing James Webb"

"End? No, the journey doesn't end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it... White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise." - J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings


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