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John Glenn's Death

John Glenn

The life and death of John Glenn:

This man was a true American genius who excelled in several fields as an aviator, astronaut, politician and statesman. And he did it all with a straight forward, honest approach that gained the true respect of generations of his peers.

John Herschel Glenn Junior was born in Cambridge. Ohio, the son of a plumbing company owner and his school teacher wife, Clara. He was raised in nearby New Concord with his adopted sister Jean, attending local schools.

John began engineering studies at Muskingum College and gained a private pilot’s license but after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, John quit college to join the Army Air Corps. (Muskingum College granted Glenn his Bachelor of Science Degree in 1962 after he became an American hero.)

After his preflight training, John accepted a transfer to the U.S. Marine Corps and flew 59 combat missions during the war.

John Glenn in the Marines

During the Korean War, Glenn flew 63 combat missions and for a while, his wingman was baseball star Ted Williams

John Glenn and Ted Williams

…photographed together years later.

In 1957, John flew the first supersonic, transcontinental flight, travelling from Loa Alamitos, California to Brooklyn’s Floyd Bennet Field in under three and a half hours!

But his best was yet to come, because John was also appointed as one of the original U.S. astronauts in the Mercury program in 1958 and in February, 1962 became the first American to orbit the earth in his “Friendship 7”.

John Glenn on cover of LIFE Magazine

He resigned from NASA in 1964, already 42 years old and too old to be considered for a lunar landing.

So, after a stint as an executive for Royal Crown Cola, Glenn entered politics and served as Senator from Ohio from December, 1974 to January 1999.

He didn’t gain much support in the primaries…

John Glenn Presidential campaign button John Glenn campaigning in 1984

…when he ran for President.

But did fly again for NASA, in the space shuttle in October 1998 at age 77, the oldest person to fly in space.

John Glenn 1998

John was an honored and respected American.

John Glenn with President Obama

And he even helped found the John Glenn Institute for Public Service and Public Policy at Ohio State University.

John was a one-woman man, marrying high school sweetheart Anna Castor…

John Glenn with Anna Castor

…in April 1943. They remained together for 73 years…

John Glenn with Anna Castor John Glenn with Anna Castor later in life

…until he died.

They had a son, John David and daughter Carolyn Ann and two grandchildren.

His casket lied in state in the Ohio capital in Columbus…

John Glenn's casket in Columbus, Ohio

…and a memorial service was held a week after his death at Ohio State University.

John Glenn's memorial service at Ohio State University

As befits a true American hero, John Glenn’s buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Pioneers Of Flight