Gail Bernard Mathas
Gail Mathas, passed away January 5, 2016 at the Avemere Residential Care Facility in Medford, Ore. He was born in 1934 to parents Parke Mathas and Loma Ruth Straughn Mathas in Brazil, Ind.
Gail attended Rose Poly Technical Institute of Terra Haute and gratuated from GM Institute with a degree in engineering. Gail joined the design team at Allison Aircraft Corporation in Indianapolis and served as a flight engineer, tested aircraft, and wrote his Masters Thesis on the "Propjet engine" which was used to power the "Lockheed Electra" which soon became the Navy P-3 "Orion," the backbone of the U.S. Navy's Global Submarine Surveillance for over four decades.
In 1959, Gail decided he had had enough of the snowy winters in Indianapolis and drove his family to the Mediterranean climate of the San Francisco Bay area where he accepted a position with the Lockheed Corporation's Missile and Space Division. He played his part in putting men on the moon before the Soviets. He worked for General Electric, Aerospace Corp., SDC, Unisys, and Loral Corporations and retired at the height of his career as a flight manager for geo-synchronal satellite rocket launches. Whenever the situation presented itself, Gail and his son would watch the launches of manned spacecraft. Neither of them would draw but a shallow breath until the vehicle had achieved safe orbit. Gail had also served in law enforcement for the Santa Clara County's Sheriff's Department. He was on the Sunnyvale Library Board and was a member of Lions International and the Elks. Gail enjoyed duck hunting and fishing. He liked to ballroom and square dance and we know he is somewhere dancing the Tennessee Waltz right now.
He is survived by his former wife, Patricia Mathas of Terra Haute, Ind.; his daughters, Gayla Hanson of League City, Texas and Susan Ridge of Brazil, Ind.; his son, Christopher A. Mathas and daughter-in-law, Elizabeth Mathas of Butte Falls, Ore.; four granddaughters, two grandsons, and eight great-grandchildren.
Gail shared a perspective with many of us. A belief that few acts are bolder and nothing arouses our spirit more than adventure into the vast unknown in an effort to expand humanity's horizons and chances for survival.
"We are stardust, on to what comes next" (David Bowie)
God's Speed Gail Mathas