WAYNESVILLE- Gerald Craig Ladner, 78, completed his earthly sojourn on July 4, 2019.
He was born Jan. 22, 1941, to Doris Havens and Walter Arthur (Lad) Ladner in Greenwood, Mississippi. Upon receiving his B.S. in engineering from Mississippi State University in 1962, Gerry made his career with NASA, starting in the Apollo Saturn IB Project, then the Skylab Program, and ending with the Space Shuttle Program propulsion elements.
He retired in 1997 after serving a fulfilling career, having served as the external tank project manager, the advanced solid pocket motor project manager and the space shuttle main engines project manager, and moved to a log cabin in the tranquil Balsam Mountains of Western North Carolina.
Gerry was preceded in death by his infant son Gerald Jr. (in 1968), his 17-year-old younger daughter Beth (in 1991), and his wife of 53 years Jane Rutledge (in 2016).
He is survived by wife Jayne Laskis, daughter Laura Ladner Harwell Jefferis, and grandchildren David Craig and Elizabeth (Ellie) Havens Harwell of Madison, Mississippi.
Gerry’s ashes will be interred in Maple Hill Cemetery in Huntsville, Alabama. Details regarding this service and a memorial service to be held in Waynesville will follow at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.