Memorial Spaceflights

Rick Newton

"In my life, I've loved them all."
1952 - 2006

Rick will be best remembered for his ready smile and hearty laugh, which he shared often and generously. When you were Rick's friend, you were his friend for life. When you were with him, you were the only other person in the world, and he shared you only grudgingly. His family was so important to him, especially his beloved "niblings," his nieces and nephews. "Uncle Rick" loved completely and unconditionally. He called and talked to his parents, Dick and Helen, and his siblings, Beth, Nancy and Bob every week, exchanging stories and family news. He was our conduit to each other. The other important part of his family were his cats. Being a bachelor, they were his kids, and he loved their company and quirky personalities. He was always quick to show you his latest pictures, and relate stories about their escapades.

Rick loved music. All music. But most of all The Beatles. Always The Beatles. Rick even named his cats for Beatles songs. He introduced so many people to such a diverse number of artists, the list would fill the page. He had thousands of albums, as well as many more thousands of 45's. Each one was carefully catalogued and kept in pristine condition. You knew you had arrived if he let you borrow an album! Of course, a pre-check of your turntable was required. He only reluctantly entered the CD age, but then embraced it wholeheartedly. And DVDs allowed him to have the whole concert experience from home.

Sports were another passion. Especially the New York Yankees. He never missed a game, which led to some tired mornings at work. He also loved football, and had season tickets for the New York Jets, but that was largely just to fill the time until baseball was back. The same person who taught him his love for the Yankees also introduced him to stamp collecting, his Aunt Hazel. His stamp collection kept him busy during those long months between football and baseball seasons.

Every year, Rick would go on family fishing trips. Our family grew up fishing, so it was only natural that this would carry over into our adult lives. He loved to fish with his dad and friends and family. His trips took him to Alaska, Lake Ontario, the Florida Keys, and the Jersey shore, but most of all to Rapid 13 in Quebec, Canada. Almost every year, various family members and friends would get together for the long trek north for a week of wilderness fishing. It seems half the pictures we have of Rick as an adult involve a fish. (The other half involve nieces and nephews!) And yet, Rick would really never have said he was a fisherman, although he was very skilled at it. Fishing was another conduit to friends and family.

Rick was born in Detroit, Michigan, but lived in many places. He spent his high school years in Naperville, Illinois, but lived in New Jersey most of his adult life. He worked at Organon, a pharmaceutical company, as a business analyst, where he made many close friends. As a child, he spent 15 months living on Kwajalein Island in the early 60's, and always wanted to be able to go back. Maybe watching all those rockets take off as a kid is what inspired such an interest in space and science fiction, especially Star Trek. He had copies of every Star Trek episode on tape, as well as all of the movies. I can't think of a more fitting tribute to his life than to have him blasted into space from Kwajalein Island, with "Scotty."

Rick's sister, Nancy

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