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Old July 24th, 2012, 08:20 AM   #1
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http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/...space-pioneer/



Sally Ride, the modest but charismatic Southern California science whiz who exhilarated the country in 1983 when she became the first American woman to travel in space, died Monday in La Jolla of pancreatic cancer. She was 61.



The intensely private Ride had been sick for about 17 months, but her illness was not widely known. She disliked being a celebrity so much that some of her achievements — including being the youngest American to fly in space, at age 32 — had faded from the public conscience.



Instead, the Stanford-trained physicist focused on promoting science and technology among middle-school-aged girls through Sally Ride Science, a nonprofit in La Jolla.



“This is a great loss for the world,” said Francis French, who worked for Ride’s company before he became education director at the San Diego Air and Space Museum in Balboa Park.



“She could have spent her life on the speaker circuit. But she decided to build on her own achievements by inspiring others. She personally helped tens of thousands of girls, and her company has helped millions.”



Through her company, Ride was expressing gratitude for the help she’d received from her family years earlier, while growing up in the Encino area.



She told an interviewer, “My parents didn’t have a scientific bone in their body, and their daughter was pursuing a career in astrophysics. They didn’t even know what astrophysics meant, but they supported me.”



In addition to promoting science, Ride spent much of her life in research. She joined UC San Diego as a full professor of physics in 1989, and served as director of the university’s California Space Institute. Ride retired in 2007 but was an emeritus faculty member at the time of her death.



President Barack Obama noted the breadth of her career Monday, saying, “Sally’s life showed us that there are no limits to what we can achieve, and I have no doubt that her legacy will endure for years to come.”



Sally Ride Science said in a statement that the former astronaut, who flew two flights in space, “died peacefully July 23, 2012, after a courageous 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer. Sally lived her life to the fullest, with boundless energy, curiosity, intelligence, passion, commitment and love. Her integrity was absolute; her spirit was immeasurable; her approach to life was fearless.”



One of her biggest fans was Marye Anne Fox, chancellor at UC San Diego.



“As the first woman to launch into space, Sally Ride was a role model for generations of young women,” Fox said Monday. “She was the epitome of bravery and courage. She dedicated her life and career to advancing science and technology, and encouraging young students to reach for the stars.”



Sally Kristen Ride was born May 26, 1951, in Encino, one decade before President John F. Kennedy proposed sending the first men to the moon.



She was selected as an astronaut candidate in 1978, the same year she earned her doctorate in physics from Stanford University. She beat out five women to be the first American woman in space. Her first flight came two decades after the Soviets sent a woman into space.



“On launch day, there was so much excitement and so much happening around us in crew quarters, even on the way to the launchpad,” Ride recalled in a NASA interview for the 25th anniversary of her flight in 2008. “I didn’t really think about it that much at the time — but I came to appreciate what an honor it was to be selected to be the first to get a chance to go into space.”



Ride flew in space in 1983 and 1984, both times on Challenger, logging 343 hours. A third flight was canceled after the Challenger explosion in 1986. She was on the commission that investigated that accident and later served on the panel for the 2003 Columbia shuttle accident, the only person to serve on both boards.



She also was on the president’s committee of science advisers.



The 20th anniversary of her first flight coincided with the loss of Columbia, a bittersweet time for Ride, who discussed it in a 2003 interview with The Associated Press. She acknowledged it was depressing to spend the anniversary investigating the accident, which killed seven astronauts.



“But in another sense, it’s rewarding because it’s an opportunity to be part of the solution and part of the changes that will occur and will make the program better,” she said.



Later in the interview, she focused on science education and talked about “being a role model and being very visible.”



“She was very smart,” said former astronaut Norman Thagard, who was on Ride’s first flight. “We did have a good time.”



It was all work on that first flight, except for a first-in-space sprint around the inside of the shuttle, Thagard recalled by phone on Monday. He didn’t know who won.



“She was not a Hollywood-type person,” said Jeffrey Kirsch, executive director of the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in San Diego.



“She was quiet but very dedicated to promoting science and math among middle-school girls. She liked being the person in charge and following through on what she was doing.”



Ride’s death elicited sadness and appreciation Monday at the San Diego Air and Space Museum.



“I think it’s just so sad. She was such an inspiration for women in science. She proved to young women in the ’80s that they could be scientists and astronauts,” said Lynne Clark of Arlington, Texas.



“It’s a shame,” said Deb Alger of San Diego. “She was the first notable woman astronaut and the only one you’ll probably hear about. Definitely a loss for women in all fields of science.”



Ride is survived by her partner of 27 years, Tam O’Shaughnessy; her mother, Joyce; her sister, Bear; her niece, Caitlin; and her nephew, Whitney, according to Sally Ride Science.



************************************************** *****************************************



San Diego and the world lost a great woman. Too bad that she lost her life to the "Big C". Bad stuff.



Anybody remember the song, "Mustang Sally"? I should dedicate this thread to Sally Ride with the lyrics of "Mustang Sally".



************************************************** ********************************************



Mustang Sally

H'uh, h'uh

Guess you better slow

Your Mustang down

Oh Lord, what I say now



Mustang Sally, now baby

Oh Lord

Guess you better slow

Your Mustang down

H'uh, oh yeah



You been runnin' all over town, now

Oh, I guess I have to put your flat feet

On the ground

Ha!

What I said, now



Listen!

All you wanna do is ride around Sally

(Ride Sally, ride)

All you wanna do is ride around Sally

(Ride Sally, ride)

All you wanna do is ride around Sally

(Ride Sally ride) hu'h

All you wanna do is a ride around Sally

Alright (ride Sally ride)

Well, listen

[ Lyrics from: http://www.lyricsfreak.com/w/wilson+..._20265451.html ]

One of these early mornins', yeah

Woow!

Gonna be wipin' yo weepin' eyes

H'uh!

What I said, now



Look-a-here!

I bought you a brand new Mustang

A nineteen sixty-five, h'uh!

Now you come around

Signifyin', now woman

You don't wanna let me ride



Mustang Sally, now baby

Oh Lord!

Guess you better slow that Mustang down

H'uh! oh Lord!

Listen, you been runnin' all over town

OOOW!

I have to put your flat feet on the ground

H'uh!

What I said now, yeah



Let me say it one more time y'all



Now, all you wanna do is ride around Sally

(Ride Sally)



All you wanna do is ride around Sally



FADES-



(Ride, Sally ride)



Ride Sally.
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Old July 24th, 2012, 08:29 AM   #2
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Something not mentioned in the article, Ride was the only person to sit on both committees which investigated the Challenger and Columbia accidents.

http://www.nytimes.c...&pagewanted=all



A bit off-topic, but note that Sally Ride was gay and as a result her spouse won't receive any of Ride's federal benefits she'd otherwise be entitled to. That's the way we treat our heroes in America.

http://ontd-political.livejournal.com/9867525.html
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Old July 24th, 2012, 08:39 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by skrekk View Post
Something not mentioned in the article, Ride was the only person to sit on both committees which investigated the Challenger and Columbia accidents.

http://www.nytimes.c...&pagewanted=all



A bit off-topic, but note that Sally Ride was gay and as a result her spouse won't receive any of Ride's federal benefits she'd otherwise be entitled to. That's the way we treat our heroes in America.

http://ontd-politica...om/9867525.html


Yes, I noticed both of those, too, Skrekk. Ironic, though, that Sally Ride sat on the Challenger committee after she rode twice on that shuttle. She knew that bird from the inside, though. Outside, it was a cold day at KSC when the Challenger tooks it last flight 01/28/1986.



She was indeed a hero and a very bright woman. Maybe her partner will get some of the benefits, I don't know. We'll see.
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Old July 24th, 2012, 09:38 AM   #4
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You know, I certainly had no intentions of posting the obituary of Sally Ride with her lifestyle as described in the last paragraph in her obituary. Now I am afraid this is going to get blown up for reasons we all know of.



I enjoy talking about space, and Sally made a large contribution to it. So she blasted off into space on her way to her final resting place. Godspeed, Sally, and may the force be with you.



Please, let us not trash this thread into a holy war of Sally's sexual preferences, especially with someone we all know, but whom I will not name. Sure, I feel that her spouse should get the benefits.



This is the second person I know very well whose life ended due to pancreatic cancer. San Diego Padres bullpen coach, Darrel Akerfelds lost his life last month to pancreatic cancer, at age 50.
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Old July 24th, 2012, 09:58 AM   #5
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This is the second person I know very well whose life ended due to pancreatic cancer. San Diego Padres bullpen coach, Darrel Akerfelds lost his life last month to pancreatic cancer, at age 50.


I've lost several friends to it. By the time it's diagnosed you usually only have a few months to live, but Ride managed to live another 17 months which is very unusual.
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Old July 24th, 2012, 10:24 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H80W' timestamp='1343151514' post='415854

This is the second person I know very well whose life ended due to pancreatic cancer. San Diego Padres bullpen coach, Darrel Akerfelds lost his life last month to pancreatic cancer, at age 50.


I've lost several friends to it. By the time it's diagnosed you usually only have a few months to live, but Ride managed to live another 17 months which is very unusual.


Akerfelds probably lived for close to a year with his condition. All one has to do is to look at the person's complexion: face and eyes. Usually the person afflicted will contract jaundice and have yellow skin and yellow eyes. I saw that in a person's face over ten years ago. If you see that, it is lights out for that person.
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Old July 24th, 2012, 10:33 AM   #7
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To respect H80W's wishes to keep the gay issue out of his thread, I'm starting this one to discuss the topic of DOMA as it relates to how we treat people like Sally Ride and her (presumed) spouse. Note that whether Ride was in fact married to O'Shaugnessy is a bit irrelevant - the point is that DOMA would have denied Ride's federal benefits to O'Shaugnessy if they were married (like her NASA pension). Moreover, O'Shaugnessy will likely have to pay federal inheritance tax on Ride's entire estate.



The other topic is how women in fields like this are forced to hide aspects of themselves in order to conform, especially given the era when Ride first entered NASA. I fully agree with Ride that her private life is her own business, but the fact that she had a brief marriage to a man follows a rather typical pattern (her marriage was apparently over for about 2 years before they divorced). I know that many gay men do the same thing before they accept their sexuality, but I think the issues are a little different given the misogyny in military-related fields like the space program (but much less so in scientific fields like physics).



Quote:

http://ontd-politica...om/9867525.html



Sally Ride, who died today after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer, was the first female U.S. astronaut in space and became friends with Tam O'Shaugnessy at the age of 12. It was not until today, however — nearly 50 years after meeting — that their 27-year romantic relationship was made public.



The pioneering scientist was, a statement from Sally Ride Science announced, survived by "Tam O'Shaughnessy, her partner of 27 years."



With that simple statement — listed alongside her mother, Joyce; her sister, Bear; her niece, Caitlin and nephew, Whitney — Ride came out.



Bear Ride, talking with BuzzFeed, said today, "We consider Tam a member of the family."



Saying that her sister was a very private person, Bear Ride said, "People did not know she had pancreatic cancer, that's going to be a huge shock. For 17 months, nobody knew -- and everyone does now. Her memorial fund is going to be in support of pancreatic cancer.



"The pancreatic cancer community is going to be absolutely thrilled that there's now this advocate that they didn't know about. And, I hope the GLBT community feels the same," Bear Ride, who identifies as gay, said.



"I hope it makes it easier for kids growing up gay that they know that another one of their heroes was like them," she added.



Terry McEntee, a spokeswoman from Sally Ride Science, the company Ride formed to provide educational materials and programs for schools, confirmed to BuzzFeed that there had not, to her knowledge, previously been published acknowledgment of Ride and O'Shaugnessy's relationship.



Bear Ride, though, said that her sister "never hid her relationship with Tam. They have been partners, business partners in Sally Ride Science, they've written books together .... Sally's very close friends, of course, knew."



O'Shaugnessy is the chief operating officer and executive vice president for Sally Ride Science, as well as an emeritus professor at San Diego State University. Sally Ride had previously been married to fellow astronaut Steven Hawley in 1982; they divorced in 1987. Ride went into space on two missions, first in 1983 and then again in 1984.



Of Sally Ride's sexual orientation, Bear Ride said, "Sally didn't use labels. Sally had a very fundamental sense of privacy, it was just her nature, because we're Norwegians, through and through."



Calling Ride "a patriot and a pioneer," Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin told BuzzFeed, "For many Americans, coming out will be the hardest thing they ever do. While it's a shame that Americans were not able to experience this aspect of Sally while alive, we should all be proud of the fact that like many LGBT Americans, she proudly served her country, had a committed and loving relationship, and lived a good life."



Of the further implications of today's news, Griffin added: "The fact that Sally Ride was a lesbian will further help round out Americans's understanding of the contributions of LGBT Americans to our country. Our love and condolences go out to her partner."



Asked about those who would have opposed legal recognition of her sister's relationship, Bear Ride bluntly replied, "Who cares about them, really? There are those who are stubbornly ignorant, and if they want to continue in that, God bless them, but probably best not to talk to my family."






I love that last line about the dumb bigots who oppose marriage equality:

"Who cares about them, really? There are those who are stubbornly ignorant, and if they want to continue in that, God bless them, but probably best not to talk to my family."
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Old July 24th, 2012, 10:37 AM   #8
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Thank you, Skrekk.
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Old July 24th, 2012, 10:39 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H80W View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by skrekk' timestamp='1343152727' post='415857

[quote name='H80W' timestamp='1343151514' post='415854']

This is the second person I know very well whose life ended due to pancreatic cancer. San Diego Padres bullpen coach, Darrel Akerfelds lost his life last month to pancreatic cancer, at age 50.


I've lost several friends to it. By the time it's diagnosed you usually only have a few months to live, but Ride managed to live another 17 months which is very unusual.


Akerfelds probably lived for close to a year with his condition. All one has to do is to look at the person's complexion: face and eyes. Usually the person afflicted will contract jaundice and have yellow skin and yellow eyes. I saw that in a person's face over ten years ago. If you see that, it is lights out for that person.

[/quote]



I imagine the symptoms vary a bit, but none of the folks I knew had jaundice except at the very end. One friend of mine had a checkup before he went overseas to visit his home country, and after his appointment I asked him how his doctor's visit went. He gave a small smile and said "just fine", but didn't say anything else to his wife or me. He died just a few weeks later in his homeland, so we think he knew but didn't even tell his wife.



Also, I started a separate thread to discuss the civil rights issue:

http://www.defendingthetruth.com/top...-her-obituary/
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Old July 24th, 2012, 08:04 PM   #10
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This article makes the same point about the homophobic culture of the space program:



Quote:
http://cosmiclog.msn...rld-she-was-gay



Why Sally Ride waited until her death to tell the world she was gay



In life, Sally Ride became famous as America's first woman in space — and in death, she's now added to her fame as the first acknowledged gay astronaut.



The revelation came in a low-key way: Monday's obituary from Sally Ride Science, the educational venture she founded a decade ago, referred to Tam O'Shaughnessy as "her partner of 27 years." A spokeswoman for Sally Ride Science, Terry McEntee, said Ride and O'Shaughnessy, who is the company's chief operating officer and executive vice president, worked out the phrasing of the announcement before Ride's death.



In an email today, Sally Ride's sister, Bear Ride, explained why the former astronaut kept quiet about her sexual orientation.



"In her inherent Norwegian reticence — in this and so many aspects of her personal life (wrestling with pancreatic cancer, for example) — she just didn't talk much (see Norwegian comment, and add to that the typical tight-lipped scientist thing)," Bear wrote. "If you read interviews from years and years back, you'll see that there was always a major frustration that she didn't comment much on 'how it feels to be the first American woman in space' — she just didn't think that way. She wanted to get the job done. Her personal feelings were just that: personal. Not right or wrong — simply Sally. Everyone who knows her well really got that about her."



Bear, a gay Presbyterian minister, takes a different approach.



"I'm a rather out-there advocate for LGBT [lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender] rights — my partner and I have even been arrested a couple of times in public protest!" she told me. "But that's me, and not Sally."



Here's the essay that Bear Ride has been sending around as a tribute to her sister:



Quote:
"Sally Ride was the first American woman to go into space and she was my big sister. Sally died peacefully on July 23rd after a courageous 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer. I was at her side. We grew up in Encino, CA. Our parents, Joyce and Dale Ride, encouraged us to study hard, to do our best and to be anything we wanted to be. In 1983 Newsweek quoted our father as saying, 'We might have encouraged, but mostly we just let them explore.' Our parents encouraged us to be curious, to keep our minds and hearts open and to respect all persons as children of God. Our parents taught us to explore, and we did. Sally studied science and I went to seminary. She became an astronaut and I was ordained as a Presbyterian minister.



"Sally lived her life to the fullest with boundless energy, curiosity, intelligence, passion, joy, and love. Her integrity was absolute; her spirit was immeasurable; her approach to life was fearless. Sally died the same way she lived: without fear. Sally's signature statement was 'Reach for the Stars.' Surely she did this, and she blazed a trail for all the rest of us.



"My sister was a very private person. Sally had a very fundamental sense of privacy, it was just her nature, because we're Norwegians, through and through. People did not know she had pancreatic cancer, this is bound to be a huge shock. For 17 months, nobody knew, and everyone does now. Her memorial fund is going to be in support of pancreatic cancer.



"Most people did not know that Sally had a wonderfully loving relationship with Tam O'Shaughnessy for 27 years. Sally never hid her relationship with Tam. They were partners, business partners in Sally Ride Science, they wrote books together, and Sally's very close friends, of course, knew of their love for each other. We consider Tam a member of our family.



"I hope the pancreatic cancer community is going to be absolutely thrilled that there's now this advocate that they didn't know about. And, I hope the GLBT community feels the same. I hope it makes it easier for kids growing up gay that they know that another one of their heroes was like them."




Sex has always been a tricky topic for astronauts: In the old days, they worried that if they didn't conform with the "Right Stuff" stereotype, they wouldn't be picked for spaceflights. Issues such as alcohol abuse or marital problems often were swept under the carpet. Is it any surprise, then, that no active or former astronauts have publicly announced that they're gay? Michael Cassutt, the author of "Who's Who in Space," is quoted on Space.com as saying that such an announcement would be a "career-wrecker."



Men and women have been working together on U.S. spacecraft since Ride's history-making flight in 1983. Why not straights and gays? Maybe Sally Ride's low-key way of coming out will represent one small step toward greater acceptance and acknowledgment of the LGBT contribution to the space effort. (I'm using the term "gay" here as a catch-all word for the LGBT community. The fact that Ride was married to fellow astronaut Steven Hawley from 1982 to 1987 makes it complicated to categorize Ride's perspective, based on the public record. And Buzzfeed's Chris Geidner quotes Bear Ride as saying "Sally didn't use labels.")



Ride's legacy lives on

Ride would no doubt be uncomfortable with a public discussion of her sexuality. She was uncomfortable enough with the celebrity that surrounded her as the first American woman in space. Based on the comments from her family and co-workers, Ride's main concern in the last days of her life was making sure that Sally Ride Science survived her passing.



"I was very fortunate to spend time with her right before she passed away," said Karen Flammer, a research physicist at the University of California at San Diego and one of the founders of Sally Ride Science. "We were able to talk about what she envisioned for our company, and our legacy and her legacy."



Ride's status as a former astronaut wasn't uppermost in her mind, Flammer told me. "Her true passion really was science education, and inspiring more young people, particularly girls, to follow a career path in science and technology," she said.



Since Ride's death, Sally Ride Science's donors have confirmed that they "want to continue funding and supporting our programs," Flammer said. "The transition will be hard, but we want to keep going as a tribute to her."



Those programs include science camps as well as global outreach efforts such as EarthKAM, which lets middle-school students request pictures of Earth to be taken by a digital camera aboard the International Space Station. "We've engaged hundreds of thousands of middle-school students, not only in this country, but around the world," Flammer said.



A similar program, called MoonKAM, lets kids select targets for pictures taken by NASA's GRAIL lunar probes.



Flammer said there will be a new chief executive officer for the company: a woman who has had experience running other educational companies and "who is going to share all of our passions." However, Flammer said it's still too early to announce the CEO's name.



And speaking of names, Flammer and her colleagues are looking into somehow putting Sally Ride's name in space. "Right now, we're in the process of working with NASA on what types of things we can do in her honor. ... Her tribute statement always was 'Reach for the Stars.' That's how she ended the talks she gave to students, or to adults. So we're keeping that in mind with whatever we come up with."



But the most valuable tribute to her memory will be Sally Ride Science.



"She never wanted the celebrity status," Flammer told me. "What she really wanted was for her legacy to continue. This is what she wants to survive her and live on: her name, and her science education company."



In memoriam

Sally Ride Science's Terry McEntee said the memorial service would be private, but if you want to pay tribute to America's first woman astronaut, here's what the company's website suggests:

Quote:

"In lieu of flowers, you may wish to make a gift in memory of Sally to the Sally Ride Pancreatic Cancer Initiative (Fund 4191). Checks should be made out to: UCSD Foundation. Also, in either the memo line or in an enclosed note, please state that the gift is made in memory of Sally Ride or to the Sally Ride Pancreatic Cancer Initiative (Fund 4191).



"Gift mailing address: Pam Werner, Executive Director of Development, UCSD Health Sciences Dev., 9500 Gilman Dr. #0853, La Jolla, CA 92093-0853."



"If you prefer using a credit card, please call Pam Werner at 858-246-1556. Please note that 94 percent of donations will go toward pancreatic cancer research at UCSD Moore's Cancer Center."
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