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John J. Park
Lieutenant, United States Navy
Kansas State Flag
From a contemporary press report:

John J. Park, 75, a retired National Aeronautics and Space Administration materials engineer who supervised laboratory testing of tapes, paints, metals and other materials for their reactions to vacuum and temperatures of space, died December 2, 1998 at Vencor Hospital in Arlington of respiratory failure and complications from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Mr. Park, a NASA employee from 1960 until his retirement in 1986, worked at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt. There, he tested materials used in the construction of satellites and spacecraft. He also developed polymeric materials for space flight applications.

In retirement, he worked with Unisys Corp. for six years, doing support work for the assembly of spacecraft by other contractors. 

Mr. Park, a native of Atchison, Kansas, entered the Navy in 1941 and served aboard a submarine in the Pacific during World War II.

After his discharge as a Navy lieutenant, he graduated from St. Benedict's College in Atchison, received a master's degree in chemistry from Catholic University and a doctorate degree in chemical engineering from the University of Maryland.

He was instrumental in the founding of the Springfield Youth Club and was active in its soccer, basketball and baseball programs. He also was active in the Boy Scouts and the Northern Virginia Swim League.

He was a lector and active member of St. Lawrence the Martyr Catholic Church in Springfield and a teacher's aide in the Fairfax County adult education department's English as a second language program.

Survivors include his wife of 46 years, Rita P. Park of Springfield; seven children, John J. Park of Montgomery, Ala., Mary Park Norris of Gaithersburg, Thomas M. Park of New York City, Robert F. Park of Vienna, Elizabeth Park McWilliams of Fairfield, Mont., James R. Park of Springfield and Joseph W. Park of Waldorf; and nine grandchildren.

A daughter, Catherine Anne Park, died in 1960.


PARK, JOHN J. (Age 75)

On Tuesday, December 2, 1998, JOHN J. PARK, of Springfield, VA, joined our Lord and Savior and is at peace. Born and raised in Atchison, KS, devoted husband of Rita P. Park; loving father of John Park, Jr., Montgomery, AL, Mary (Stephen) Norris, Gaithersburg, MD, Thomas (Kathryn) Park, New York, NY, Robert (DiAnn) Park, Vienna, VA,        Elizabeth (Terry) McWilliams, Fairfield, MT, James Park, Springfield, VA and Joseph (Lisa) Park, Waldorf, MD; proud grandfather of Christine, Stephen, Jr., Michelle and Patrick Norris, Rachel, Hannah and Sarah Park, Charles John McWilliams and Emily Park. He is also survived by his brothers, George M. of Kansas City, MO and William S. of Phoenix, AZ.  Mass of the Resurrection will be celebrated on Monday, December 7 at 11 a.m. at St. Lawrence Catholic Church, 6222 Franconia Rd., Alexandria, VA. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions, in Mr. Park's name, may be sent to the Little Sisters of the Poor, St. Joseph's Home for the Aged, 1503 Michael Rd., Richmond, VA 23229, or the National Capitol Area Chapter, ALS Association, PO Box 5722, Washington, DC 20016. Private burial at Arlington National Cemetery.



Posted: 22 December 1998 Updated: 7 January 2007
American Memory