DOWNEY – Norman Charles Buchert, born in Cincinnati, Ohio on May 13, 1942, passed away May 9 after a battle with cancer. He graduated from Port St. Joe High School in Port St. Joe, Fla., and from the University of Florida with a BS and MS in Electrical Engineering.
His career began at Kennedy Space Center on Jan. 27, 1967 with North American Aviation (NAA) as an RF and Telemetry Engineer working on the Apollo/Saturn Launch Vehicle second stage. He then worked on the Saturn V moon launches including the Apollo 11 launch to the moon (and back) and worked in the Saturn V Launch Control Center Firing room at the RF and Telemetry console. He later transferred to the Apollo Command and Service Module (CSM) organization to work on the experiments that the CSM carried to the moon and the Lunar Sounder experiment searching for water on the moon.
He and his wife’s first daughter, Genelle, was born shortly after man’s first walk on the moon. Twenty-two months later their second daughter, Charisse, was born.
In 1972, he began work as a Space Shuttle design integration engineer in Downey for NAA. In 1975, their third daughter, Felicia, was born. That same year he transferred back to KSC to help design, manufacture and install the Orbiter Processing Facility Communications and Tracking checkout station. In 1984, they welcomed their youngest daughter, April.
Promoted to Supervisor of the NAA Communications and Tracking group, he supervised the checkout of the first Shuttle launch Orbiter Communications and Navaids Systems eventually becoming the Director of Advanced Programs and Business Development for Rockwell (formerly NAA) at KSC. After Boeing purchased the Space Division portion of Rockwell in 1996, Norman became the Director of Advanced Engineering for the Space Shuttle Program finishing his career in this capacity.
Norman received many awards and recognitions including the Astronaut Snoopy award for his work on the Apollo Program presented by Apollo astronaut, Hank Hartsfield. Norman worked for Boeing for over 44 years.
He is survived by Carol, his wife of 47 years, daughters, Genelle Buchert, Charisse Buchert, Felicia Kai (Sam) and April Walters (Cameron); brother Jerry Buchert (Laurie), sisters, Margie Vogt (Jim) and Carole Pille (Skip), half sister Chris Haley (Pat) and step sister Marlene Guerrieri (Bruno); grandchildren Annabella Kai, Graciella Kai and Serenity Kai (with a fourth grandchild in progress) and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his father Robert Valentine Buchert and mothers, Erline Buchert and Norma Riester Boehl.
Services were held at First Baptist Church of Merritt Island Chapel on May 16. He was laid to rest on May 18 at the Alaqua United Methodist Church cemetery in Defuniak Springs, Fla.
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations to the Port St. Joe High School Norman C. Buchert Engineering and Math Scholarship Fund.
Published: May 21, 2015 - Volume 14 - Issue 06