Memorial Spaceflights

Gordon G. Ingram

"Schmoo Baby, you made it into space!"
1942 - 2008

That smile! I loved it! And that boyish grin when he wanted something. He almost always won me over with it. We were set up by a mutual friend and by the end of our second date, which lasted all day, I was falling in love with him.

It wasn't just the smile. I had never met anyone like him. He was intelligent, of course, and a deep thinker; always reading biographies, histories, and political analysts. And I loved his sense of humor. Once, when we were going over the text for our railroad tour flyer for the Copper Canyon of Mexico, our friend and guide on the trip suggested he include the words "remote" and "enchanting." Gordon said, "How about, ¥remotely enchanting?'"

He was strong enough to be gentle. When we were cutting our wedding cake, my well-bred sisters-in-law were motioning me to push the cake in his mouth. I took a moment to explain to Gordon that what I was about to do was tradition, pushed it in, and then waited for him to do the same to me. When he carefully and tenderly placed the cake in my mouth, tears came to my eyes for being blessed with this man.

Gordon loved life; it was an adventure. He always pushed me to do something I thought was too difficult, like climbing the very steep steps of a pyramid in Mexico, or skiing down a difficult slope. If I told him something he wanted me to do couldn't be done, he wouldn't accept the limitation. Most of the time he turned out to be right, which always frustrated me. For example, once we were driving in Kearney Mesa and he spotted the Goodyear blimp. He said, "It's tethered in Montgomery Field. Let's see if we can take a ride on it." I said, "We can't just show up and take a ride on it." An hour later, after sweet talking the employees and having one of the passengers give up a seat, we were up in the air.

There was always a business to start or buy (seven of them); a hobby to take up (too many to mention), a collection to put together (art nouveau furniture, model planes and trains, and hundreds and hundreds of books and videos), a trip to take, a book to read, something new to learn (he got a law degree), and toys to buy. I should mention along the way his toys included two full-sized lounge-observation railroad cars and a 69-foot yacht. Gordon did not do things in a small way.

His first piano teacher in San Diego, who had been a professional pianist and conductor of several orchestras, told me that Gordon had the talent to be a concert pianist. You could hear it in his touch. Gordon also wanted to study the violin, but I knew how bad a beginner sounds, especially when you don't practice daily. I fought it, and won that battle. So he started singing lessons with Daniel Hendrick instead, and was last working on an aria from Tosca.

Gordon was also an excellent speaker. When he was an active real estate broker he would give seminars to small groups on the apartment investment market. When the market dried up he focused on owning small businesses and began giving the monthly seminars for our foreclosure listing company. He loved having an audience and making them laugh. He even thought of becoming a stand up comic and began collecting jokes to tell.

When Gordon was in the Navy he had a dream of becoming an astronaut. That didn't come to fruition, but he is going to realize his dream to go into space. About a year ago I read about a company that sends some of your ashes into space to orbit the earth for eight to ten years, and asked Gordon if he liked that idea. He said, "Yes," and so he will blast off.

I always knew he was special, but until I spoke to some of his friends and associates who attended his memorial service, and a few others who couldn't attend, I hadn't realized how many lives had been touched by him. He was always generous with his time and knowledge and would be pleased to know how much he was appreciated. Thank you for sharing your memories.

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