Former Apollo Skylab Astronaut, Col. Gerald P. “Jerry” Carr, USMC Ret., passed away peacefully on August 26 in Albany, NY, following a brief illness. A resident of Manchester Center, VT for the past 14 years, along with his wife Patricia, Carr was well known as the commander of the final space mission to the orbiting Skylab workshop – America’s first space station – in 1973 and 1974.
But his loved ones will tell you that, among them, he is best remembered as husband, father, brother, uncle, grandfather, and great-grandfather.
Carr’s legacy in space as a pioneer of long duration spaceflight was heralded by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine upon his passing. But his legacy on Earth lives on in the blended family that he loved and has loved him so much.
He is survived by his beloved wife and partner Patricia Musick Carr. He had three daughters and three sons by his first wife, JoAnn Carr, who also survives him, including Jennifer Carr, Jamee Carr Wilson, Jeffrey Carr (and spouse Mengo Carr), John Carr, Jessica Carr (and partner Joy Ridout), and Joshua Carr (and husband Ray Limon). His three stepdaughters are Cathleen Musick, Melinda Musick King (and spouse Tim King), and Laura Musick Wright (and spouse Greg Wright).
He was blessed with 12 grandchildren including Michael Wilson, Betty Carr, James Carr, Cameron Carr, Avery Carr, Marley King Wynne (and spouse Thomas Wynne), Hillary King-Williams (and spouse Pete Williams), Jamie Cicchetti Ziehm (and spouse Eric Ziehm), Jennifer Wright, Alisha Wright (and spouse Jacob Huelster), Caryn Rakov (and spouse Brad Rakov), and Wendy Porter (and spouse Jesse Porter).
He is also survived by eight great-grandchildren including Chase Porter, Jack Porter, Logan Porter, Brayden Rakov, Kylie Rakov, Cole Ziehm, Case Ziehm, and Flynn Wynne.
Born in Denver, Colorado, to parents Thomas E. Carr and Freda L. Wright, Carr grew up in Santa Ana, California, which he considered to be his home town. After graduating from Santa Ana High School, he attended University of Southern California on an NROTC scholarship. Upon graduation in 1954, he married JoAnn Petrie of Santa Ana, CA.
With a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Mechanical Engineering, he received his commission and subsequently reported to the U.S. Marine Corps Officers' Basic School at Quantico, Virginia. He received flight training at Pensacola, Florida, and Kingsville, Texas, and was then assigned to Marine All-Weather-Fighter-Squadron 114, where he gained experience in the F-9 and the F-6A Skyray.
A candidate for postgraduate training, he went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in 1961, and a Master of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Princeton University in 1962.
After postgraduate training, he served with Marine All-Weather-Fighter-Squadron 122, from 1962 to 1965, piloting the F-8 Crusader in the United States and the Far East. Other aircraft he has flown include the F-4, T-1, T-28, T-33, T-38, H-13, and ground effect machines, logging more than 8,000 flying hours
Selected by NASA as an Apollo astronaut in April 1966, he served as a member of the astronaut support crew and CAPCOM for the Apollo 8 moon mission. He was the first human contact with the Apollo 8 crew after successfully completing the first ever manned orbit around the moon. He also served as a member of the support crew and CAPCOM for Apollo 12, and was involved in the development and testing of the lunar roving vehicle which was used on the lunar surface by Apollo flight crews.
He was named to the crew of the Apollo 19 as lunar module pilot and trained to land the spacecraft on the lunar surface. The mission was cancelled when Congressional funding for the remainder of the program was curtailed. He was then named to command the third and final Apollo-Skylab mission. Carr and his crew mates, Dr. Edward G. Gibson and William R. Pogue, launched on November 16, 1973, and concluded February 8, 1974. This was the longest manned flight (84 days, 1 hour, 15 minutes) in the history of manned space exploration to date.
During their record-setting 34.5-million-mile flight, the crew successfully completed 56 experiments, 26 science demonstrations, 15 subsystem-detailed objectives, and 13 student investigations during their 1,214 revolutions of the earth. Carr was also a prolific spacewalker, logging 15 hours and 48 minutes in three EVAs outside the Orbital Workshop, which stood as a world record until 1996. After Skylab, Carr worked on cockpit shuttle design for the space shuttle program. Carr retired from the United States Marine Corps in September of 1975 and from NASA in June of 1977.
Carr married Patricia Musick in 1979, with whom he co-founded CAMUS Inc. in 1984. The unique family-owned Corporation reflects the convergence of two powerful forces and the combined inspiration of an accomplished engineer and an equally accomplished artist/sculptor. Their company not only provided technical support services in Zero-G human factors engineering, and the design of spacecraft, procedures and training, but also the design, production, and expression of multi-dimensional fine art.
Together, Jerry and Pat Carr created a life that centered around the blending of two families, the creation of art and one of their greatest passions, travel. Jerry and Pat journeyed the globe together, meeting new people and learning about different cultures. The discoveries they made, strengthened their appreciation of our country and our world. They developed a sense of the fragile nature of our planet. The art they created together promoted environmentalism and the great urgency they felt for the protection of our Earth. Towards the end of his life, Jerry and Pat extended the spirit of activism towards the protection of our democracy.
He was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1997.
During is career Carr received numerous national honors and awards including the National Defense Service Medal; Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal; Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal; NASA Distinguished Service Medal, 1974; Navy Distinguished Service Medal and the Navy Astronaut Wings; 1974; University of Southern California Alumni Merit Award, 1974; Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Eagle Scout Award, 1974; Robert J. Collier Trophy for 1973; Marine Corps Aviation Association's Exceptional Achievement Award, 1974; Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy, 1975.
Memorial services will be private. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to either the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (https://astronautscholarship.org) or HEAL Raising Our World Foundation, Inc. (www.healraisingourworld.org).
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