Aerospace Community Mourns the Loss of Rose Church, “Flight Nurse to the Astronauts”
The aerospace community mourns the recent loss after a brief illness of our dear friend, Mrs. Rose Church, the “Flight Nurse to the Astronauts” during the budding Mercury and Gemini spacecraft programs at McDonnell Aircraft Corporation in St. Louis, MO. Starting out as an industrial nurse at McDonnell Aircraft in the early 1950s, she essentially created the job of flight nurse for the space program when McDonnell Aircraft became the prime contractor for Mercury and later Gemini spacecraft. Her work brought such esteem from the astronauts, many of whom went on to the Apollo program, and the NASA hierarchy that she was invited to the last Space Shuttle launch as a VIP guest nearly 50 years later. She continued to educate the public about the space program after leaving McDonnell and during her second career in real estate, and was a life member of, and generous contributor to, the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum at St. Louis Downtown Airport in Cahokia. She will be remembered not only as an aerospace pioneer, but even more so as a lady who showed kindness and service to all she encountered. Rose Church dreamed of going to the moon – her plan was a one-way colonization mission for older folks – but those who knew her are confident that she is now far beyond the moon, touring the universe with the One who created it.
For more information about Rose Church, please visit the previous posting on The Aero Experience http://aeroexperience.blogspot.com/2011/07/rose-church-flight-nurse-to-mercury-and.html and the Missouri Historical Society’s biography page at http://www.historyhappenshere.org/archives/7300.