Memorial Spaceflights

Paul L. Pryor

"Somewhere Over the Rainbow"
1912 - 1997

Paul Pryor viewed the world around him both scientifically and artistically. This rare combination made him both an exceptional photographer and an innovator in optical physics and remote sensing. A true magician with light, he focused on its varied manifestations and was sensitive to its subtleties. The beauty of the natural world profoundly inspired him, and he loved being outdoors with his family. Paul Pryor was an optimist and shared his uplifting spirit with a wide circle of colleagues and friends. They remember his contagious enthusiasm for novel ideas and perspectives. He was truly a bright light and an inspiration for the many people he touched.

Paul Pryor passed away at his home in Dayton, Ohio, on June 12, 1997 at the age of 85. Born in Cairo, Illinois, and raised in Detroit, he was the son of Esther and Thomas Pryor. In 1933, he earned a B.S. in Optical Physics and Mathematics from the University of Michigan. Always intrigued with photography, he worked as a professional photographer in New York City, and later as a Staff Photographer for the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C. Paul Pryor moved to Dayton in 1941 to work at Wright Patterson Air Force Base where he became Senior Scientist of the Reconnaissance Division. During his career as a research scientist he made several key inventions in remote sensing. He served as an advisor to NASA during both the Mercury and Apollo missions. He retired in 1972, but continued his work as a photographer and inventor.

Since 1980, Paul Pryor spent the winter months at his Honolulu home with his wife Dorothy. She passed away there in February of this year. He is survived by, William and C. Robert, his sons, and his daughter-in-law, Dianeah. He also leaves three grandchildren, William, Jr., Randy, and Molly.

Paul Pryor was a member of the University of Michigan Alumni Association, Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society, the Optical Society of America, the Royal Photographic Society of London, the Dayton Inventor's Council, the Sons and Daughters of Pioneer Rivermen, and the Adventures Club of Honolulu. He was a Presbyterian elder and an active member at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Dayton.

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