Gregory Karl Huizinga of Milford, CT passed away on February 14, 2022 at the age of 35. Gregory was born on September 4, 1986 in Binghamton, NY, the son of Karl & Kimberley Huizinga. Gregory is survived by those that loved him with a very strong and deep love and who will miss him greatly, his father Karl Huizinga, his mother Kimberley Huizinga, his sister Desirae (Nick) Kelly, his younger brother Bradley Huizinga, his nephews, Reilly and Finnigan Kelly and his twin nieces Keira and Emma Kelly. He is also survived by his Grandmother Betty Ann Holden, several Aunts, Uncles, cousins and friends who all loved him.
Gregory was always a fast learner, and a very inquisitive, intelligent, strong willed, and determined person. He would set high expectations for himself and then pushed himself to exceed those expectations. He always strived to do his best in all things. He attended Candor Central School where he loved learning and being in school. In high school he lettered in Football and Track, was a member of the National Honor Society, played Trombone in the band and was part of All County Band and NYSSMA. He participated in Drama Club, Student Council, Culture Club, Debate Club, and Ski Club. Gregory also donated his time and volunteered at numerous organizations throughout the area. Gregory graduated with Honors in 2005 Gregory attended Syracuse University from 2005 -2009 where he received his B.S. in Aerospace Engineering with a minor in Russian.
While at Syracuse he was part of the S.U. Design Build Fly Team, a member of AIAA and volunteered through the LC Smith Community Partnership Student Mentor Program where he would go into the Syracuse district schools and mentor the children. While at Syracuse he also performed two summer internships at Lockheed Martin in Owego as a College Student Technical Specialist working on the VH-71 Presidential Helicopter Program. After graduating from Syracuse University Gregory worked at Lockheed Martin in Moorsetown, NJ as an Associate Engineer for one year. He then moved to Maryland where he worked for Lockheed Martin at the NAS Patuxent River Navy Base as a Flight Test Engineer/Test Conductor on the F35-C's. In the fall of 2013 he returned to Ithaca to attend Cornell University where he received his Master's in Engineering/Systems Engineering Degree. While at Cornell his curriculum focus was on Spacecraft and Satellite Engineering, Decision Analysis, Reliability and Design Innovation. He was part of the Violet Nanosatellite Program and served as a member of the Telemetry & Command Subsystem and the Functional & Systems Integration. He also received certifications in Six Sigma Black Belt and Wilderness First Responder.
After graduating from Cornell Gregory headed to California and Modern Technology Solutions (MTSI) on the Edwards Airforce base where he was a Flight Test Engineer/Test Conductor on the F-35A's. After a year there he headed to Seattle, Washington and Triad Systems International where he was a Flight Test Engineer on the Boeing 737. In 2017 he headed back to the East Coast and a position with Sikorsky/Lockheed Martin as a Flight Test Engineer on the S-70 Black Hawk helicopters. He loved that with this position he could fly in the helicopters and enjoyed the periods of time that was intense flight testing. He was greatly looking forward to working in Turkey performing flight testing and flying in helicopters there. While he enjoyed every aspect of his career and his various positions, this position ended up being his favorite. The thrill of being in the air in the Black Hawks made him incredibly happy.
He was still employed at Sikorsky/Lockheed Martin at the time of his passing. Gregory loved adventure and lived his life with no fear and his time skydiving and white water rafting were favorite experiences for Gregory. He loved to travel and visited Spain, London, and Costa Rica as well as driving across the US twice. He enjoyed football, hunting, four-wheeling, home-brewing, hiking, reading, kayaking, and constantly learning and analyzing things. He was an avid New York Jets fan and as a child received a signed Jets football and a personalized signed picture from former Quarterback Boomer Esiason while attending a Bills/Jets football game.
After receiving a space themed cassette and book when he was five Gregory became obsessed with all things Space related. He followed and learned about everything that was related to space, he was a Trekkie and Greg possessed the adventurous spirit of Captain Kirk and the sound logical reasoning of Spock. His greatest wish was to make it to Space one day. He would have loved to have been an astronaut or work for NASA but he found contentment in flight testing on the Blackhawks. Most of all Gregory loved his family and the times he was home around his family. He was immensely proud of his sister and brother and the lives they had carved out for themselves. He especially loved being an Uncle and thought his nieces and nephews were the absolute best. Fly High Gregory, as only you can and will. We will miss you with all we are every single second of our lives. Our love for you knows no bounds and we will always love you with a deep, eternal love. To fulfill Gregory's lifelong dream of space flight and placing him right where he would want to be, in Space, his family is honoring him with this space launch.