Westminster Resident to celebrate 50th anniversary of Apollo 17
Fly me to the Moon — Let me Play Among the StarsWatch the Channel 15 news interview with Jan Evans, our beloved Westminster Village resident as she describes her husband, Astronaut Ron Evan’s role in the Apollo 17 mission. She shares the emotional experience of witnessing nine manned launches with family and cherished friends. Jan will be in Houston, Texas this December to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 17 mission.
Cherished memories. Some bring joy and laughter, others deep sadness of loss, some are Just between you and me and others we love to share.
My 89 yeas of memories cover happy family times, school days, learning to drive, proms, sports, college days and work days. There were also special memories for Ron Evans – a KU Jayhawker grad who was in Navy flight training in Pensacola, FL. He came home to Topeka, KS on two week’s leave in December 1956. We were introduced by a mutual friend and married 22 December 1957. Daughter Jaime followed in 1959 and son Jon in 1961.
During Ron’s 2nd tour to Viet Nam on board USS Ticonderoga I volunteered him for astronaut training. Naturally I opened the large NASA envelope with cover letter stating: “You have basic qualifications for astronaut training, do you wish to volunteer? Complete and Return forms in 10 days.” I reached Deke Slayton at NASA telling him that Ron definitely volunteers but impossible to get forms on time. Deke agreed on a late acceptance. Aboard ship the forms were completed, and the war continued. Navy orders sent Ron to TX for vigorous physical & psychological testing – and then back to war. 26 March 1966 Ron received a message informing him of his selection as a NASA Astronaut – to be kept secret until NASA’s announcement on 4 April. Ron departed ship at the conclusion of the final VF 51 mission flown over “Yankee” station, arriving home (San Diego) 28 April and reporting to NASA 2 May. Talk about dreams coming true!!
Just like in Navy squadrons, the beautiful camaraderie of astronauts and wives remains a special treasure to this day. December 7-19, 1972. Our Nations last flight to the moon, the first manned night launch, Ron (Command Module Pilot) along with Gene Cernan and Jack Schmitt launched to the moon at 12:33 a.m. It was the most fantastic family experience one could ever imagine. Our viewing sight was near a body of water. The fiery brilliance, ponderous sound waves vibrating through our bodies, fish leaping high in the air, birds flying – all thinking it had suddenly become daylight and our eyes glued to that tiny streak of fire miles high. It is an emotion and spectacle unlike anything for comparison. I was fortunate to have witnessed 9 manned launches and always shed tears of joy for the fellows in the capsule getting to do their dream job for which they were trained to do successfully.
This December 2022 all my AZ and TX family will be in Houston for the 50th anniversary of Apollo 17. I will once again see all my dear neighbors, friends, wives, astronauts, flight controllers, engineers, secretaries, scientists old Navy squadron mates coming together from all parts of the USA. Five days of CHERISHED MEMORIES. I know that Ron and his many friends in heaven will be right there with us.