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Dallas Keith Gillespie

Company H-2

1 Jan 1939 – 6 Apr 1999

Place of Death: Denver, CO

Cremated and ashes scattered in Bailey, CO; Satellite Beach, FL; and Kennedy Space Center, FL 

Dallas Keith Gillespie was born in Tooele, Utah to Keith and Thelma Gillespie and was raised in the small crossroads town of Wells, Nevada.  While a cadet, Dallas always spoke lovingly of his parents and his uncomplicated lifestyle in Nevada.  He was gifted with a great sense of humor and frequently entertained his H-2 classmates with tales of his unique past.  One of his favorite stories was how he played on his high school football team and in the school band at the same time.  According to this folklore, Dallas changed uniforms at halftime, performed with the band, changed uniforms again and played the second half of the football game.   

 The folklore continued during Fourth Class Year, during which Dallas had more fun than the average Plebe.  Whenever an upperclassman asked where he was from and where in the heck is Wells, Nevada, Dallas would reply, “Sir, it is in the land of the Golden West, at the foot of the scenic Ruby Mountains”.  During Plebe Christmas, Dallas was chosen to escort members of the Olympic ice-skating team, who were visiting West Point.  He managed to escort them all the way to New York City on military transportation.  Using his charm, Dallas talked the driver into waiting a few hours before returning to the Academy.  How many other Plebes were in New York City during that time?  Also during Plebe Christmas, with the help of a roommate accomplice, Dallas befriended one of the Hell Cats, who delivered a bottle of vodka, gift wrapped, to their room.  It was placed on the shelf with a few other wrapped presents. A Tac Officer visited the room and commented that it was nice that they had a few gifts. 

 Dallas graduated well into the top half of the class, but he was far more intelligent than that.  His active and inquisitive mind led to discussion of all imaginable topics, such as philosophy, religion, politics, and race relations.  Dallas was always seeking answers and a better way.  He was a deep thinker who actively studied and evaluated his place in society.  He used his wisdom to counsel with and help his friends in any way he could. One classmate writes, “I am always grateful for the rare privilege of having shared a very special part of my life with such a gifted listener, and by far the most tolerant human being I have ever known.”  In short, Dallas was the best. He was fun to be with because he was a man of great substance and yet, he was never far removed from doing the unexpected.

 Dallas was selected by his H-2 classmates to represent them on the Hop Committee, on which he served for four years.  He also was active for four years on the Debate Council and Forum, The Howitzer and the Cadet Chapel Choir. 

 After graduation, Dallas was commissioned in the Artillery and completed Airborne training at Fort Benning, Georgia.  Dallas left the Army after his three-year obligation. He married the former Donna Jean Marie Bennett, and returned to Wells, Nevada, where he opened a local restaurant.  One can only imagine the discourse that ensued between the owner and the regular customers.  Although Dallas enjoyed the return to his roots, duty called, and he returned to government service. 

 Dallas put his brilliant mind to work in the aerospace industry.  He went to work with NASA in 1968 at John F. Kennedy Space Center, Florida.  While working at NASA, Dallas earned a Masters Degree in Management from Florida State University.  He received many awards during his time with NASA, to include the NASA Public Service Medal and the NASA Exceptional Service Medal.  Dallas also worked for periods of time with McDonnell Douglas and Chrysler Corporation, both at the Kennedy Space Center.  Dallas retired in 1998 with thirty years in the aerospace industry.  Before retirement, he had attained Senior Executive status.  A classmate, who visited Dallas shortly before his retirement, reported that Dallas was not very happy because he thought he had not accomplished enough.  In reality, how could he have accomplished more?

 Dallas held membership on the boards of the Astronauts Memorial Planetarium, Junior Achievement, Brevard Cultural Alliance, the Economic Development Commission of East Central Florida and the Brevard Youth Symphony.  He was Chairman of the Brevard Symphony Board and was a mentor for the Florida Special Olympics. 

 Upon retirement, Dallas and Donna moved to Bailey, Colorado.  They did not have much time to enjoy their life there together.  Shortly after the move, Dallas died suddenly.  All of his classmates will remember Dallas as the fun loving Plebe and Cadet that he was.  We will also remember a true friend; one that could be counted on for a laugh when that was appropriate and for help and support when it was needed.  Those who knew Dallas in his profession will remember a brilliant patriot who gave his all in the furtherance of space exploration and the betterment of the community in which he lived.  His wife Donna and sons, Shawn and Devon, will remember a man, a husband, a father, who loved his family more than anything else and who put nothing ahead of them.

 Rest in peace, good friend. 

 Your H-2 classmates


Class Memorial Pages\H-2 Dallas Gillespie.pdf