Goddard Edward Pendray

(May 19, 1901 - September 5, 1987)

The Lusk Herald
September 23, 1987

G. Edward Pendray

Dr. G. Edward Pendray, 86, of Jamesburg, NJ, died Sept. 5, 1987, in the Franklin Convalescent Center, Franklin Park, NJ.

He is survived by his wife Annice, brother Arthur of California, twin sisters May Earickson of Loveland, CO and June Wagoner of Fairbury, NE. Also survived by two daughters, and grandchildren, two stepdaughters. One daughter is deceased.

He was the last survivor of the 12 men who in 1930 founded the American Planetary Society, soon after renamed the American Rocket Society, now the American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics.

Born May 19, 1901, Pendray was the son of John H. Pendray, a newspaper compositor on the Council Bluffs, IA Non-Pareil and the Omaha World-Herald and for a time was part-owner of the Douglas Printing Co. of Omaha.

Homesteaded in Sioux County, NE, John H. Pendray and his family moved about 1908 to a homestead in Sioux County, in the extreme western part of the state. As a boy, the younger Pendray helped his father in publication of the Van Tassell Pioneer.

He received his bachelor of arts degree in 1924 from the University of Wyoming, then went to New York to earn his master's degree at Columbia University. The University of Wyoming awarded him its honorary doctor of laws degree in 1943.

Serving as spokesman for rocket propulsion as a means of space flight, Goddard and the Society's members not only were subject to ridicule by "risked their necks" in the design, building and testing of liquid propellant rockets.

Goddard had fired his first liquid-fueled rocket in 1926; his European experimenters were busy about the same time.

In 1931, Dr. Pendray went Europe to consult with German writer Willy Ley, engineer Klaus Riedel, pilot Rudolf Nebel and a schoolboy named Wernher Van Bruan. The last-name, after WWII, led the U.S. space program.

In 1934, the American Society launched a rocket which reached the speed of sound.

Although the U.S. was abreast of, or even ahead of, other nations in the use of rockets as military missiles, early in WWII, it was the effect of Nazi weapons such as the V-2 rocket, and the study of V-2's captured in the war's last days, that touched off America's serious venture into space.

These were under the Army and the Air Force for a dozen years, until President Dwight Eisenhower called for formation of a civilian agency. Dr. Pendray was a member of the ad hoc committee which then advised Congress on formation of the National Aeronautics & Space Agency.

Along with numerous articles for magazines and periodicals, and scientific papers, Dr. Pendray was the author of several books on his specialty.

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