Carroll H. (Pete) Woodling

Born April 29, 1928 to Rose and William Lloyd Woodling in Milton, Pennsylvania. Pete received a degree in Physics from the College of William and Mary in 1950. He taught a short time at Newport News High School before accepting a job in 1951 with the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), forerunner to NASA, at Langley Research Center in Virginia. His work at NACA was primarily associated with the stability and control studies of high speed aircraft. Stability analysis and simulation of the NACA X-15 research aircraft led directly to his interests in the manned space flight program already underway during project Mercury in the late 1950’s. Pete came home from work one day to share an ‘opportunity of a lifetime’ career move with Milly, to join the NASA group in 1962 that had moved their operations from Langley Field to Houston, Texas. Pete never failed to remind his children of how important Milly’s support and encouragement was to his long and successful career. During his 21 years with NASA, in Texas, his work was associated with the development and operations of the complex, computer driven, mission simulators utilized by both astronauts and the mission control crews for all phases of mission training. High fidelity simulations were provided for each flight during the projects of Gemini, SkyLab, Apollo and the early landing tests of the Space Shuttle. He said, of course, the highlight of his career was the first lunar landing, July 1969. Pete retired from NASA in 1983. After two years with Ford Aerospace and Eagle Engineering, he and Milly both retired and moved to a small fishing lake in East Texas to spend more time together after Milly’s cancer treatment. There they continued to entertain family and friends until their return to Friendswood, in 2018, due to health reasons.
Pete was a loving and devoted husband, dad, granddad and mentor. He and Milly worked joyfully to entertain family and friends at every opportunity, wherever they lived. He loved fishing and RV camping with Milly and any family or friends who wanted to join them. For he and Milly’s 50th Anniversary he reminisced about fishing: Freshwater in 3 countries and 12 states including 16 man-made lakes in Texas and 12 varieties of fish; Saltwater in Gulf of Mexico (from Florida to Padre Island), Atlantic (from Virginia Beach to Florida Keys) and Pacific (from Alaska to Ixtapa, Mexico) including 8 varieties of fish and 2 varieties of crab; Most memorable were the unique, single, trips but also enjoyed the many picnic lunches on the lake with family and not catching a thing. He loved playing with little kids “because everything is new and exciting to them”. He was fun-loving and silly but serious when teaching his kids the importance of honesty, integrity, responsibility and fidelity. He was a great provider and caregiver for Milly. Milly and Pete celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary on January 19, 2021 but said a tearful goodbye to his sweet life-companion and greatest friend, Milly, on June 29, 2021.
Pete is survived by his children Kerry (Bob) Aguirre, Jo (Don) Leach, Steve (Megan) Woodling; Siblings – Anna Mae Harpster and Alice Dimler; Nephews – Jeff (Pam) Harpster, Tim (Vicki) Harpster, Jay Dimler and Jim (Bobbie) Sawyer; Niece – Betsy (Jim) Baker; Eleven Grandchildren, thirteen Great Grandchildren, and three Great Great Grandchildren.
 Milly and Pete’s children, Kerry, Jo and Steve consider it a blessing to have enjoyed so many years of love and security under the care of two people who lived with such passion and integrity. “We will miss you, Dad. Give Mom a hug for all of us.”
The family will gather for a small ceremony in honor of Pete and Milly on June 11, 2022. In lieu of flowers, please take a kid fishing.


  1. Saddened by your loss, May your fathers memory forever be for a blessing.

    Denise Tait Havenar
    • Thank you! Yes, what sweet memories!

      • Thank you Denise. We do have so many good memories. He and Mom set a lasting example for their family.

        Kerry Aguirre
  2. You will be missed sweet friend. As your kids have stated over and over, you and Milly were the perfect example of a good marriage. We were friends for too many years to count. Glad you will be joining Milly.

    Patsy Rand
    • God bless you Ms Rand!

      Jo Leach
    • Thank you for your sweet words, Patsy. They were a treasure to us.

      Kerry Aguirre
  3. My condolences on the recent passing of your father as well as your mom. I recall the camper in the driveway as you packed for adventure. Those were good days on Imperial Dr #148.

    Amber Nichols Gummelt
    • Yes! What a blessed childhood we had! Thank you

      Jo Leach
    • It was a wonderful time to grow up wasn’t it. Good memories of the “little
      things” that made big impressions.

      Kerry Aguirre
  4. My condolences to the loss of your Dad. He was so funny and I have such fond memories of him as I ran through your back yard going to play with friends on the other side of the street.

    Andrea Beatty Leger

    Andrea Leger
    • Andrea, how sweet!!! You just brought back a fond memory for me as well.

      Kerry Aguirre
    • I loved his sense of humor. It’s fun to hear others who saw it too!

  5. Pete will truly be missed, it was a honor to be able to grow up as a family friend and be able to admire him as gentle, kind, considerate, intelligent human that he was. He would laugh as we towed the Chevy Suburban in on the weekend after we told him how we totally tore off another axle. Pete was up and working on it early in the morning so we could do it again that evening. Just a enjoyable person to be around what great times were had in Friendswood. We will miss you, and my condolences to Steve ,Kerry and Jo and all the family, you’ll are in our prayers.

    Brian Kelledy
    • Brian,

      What a kind remembrance. He was quite a character wasn’t he? We all were
      So Fortunate to grow up in a nice – safe – neighborhood where everyone took care and watched out for one another. Truly a blessing. Thank you for your prayers.

      Kerry Aguirre
    • Thanks for sharing that memory of Dad! And thanks for your prayers.

    • The man had incredible patience with his kids! lol

  6. Kerry, so very sorry to hear of you father’s passing. Losing a parent is always heartbreaking. God’s blessings and comfort to you and your family.

    JoAnn Anttila
    • Thank you, my friend. It was a blessing to have both parents for many years. It is hard but the memories are precious.

  7. It was a wonderful childhood growing up next door to the Woodlings. Thank you for being good neighbors and even better, friends.
    Susan Carter

    Susan Carter slocomb
    • Yes, that was a wonderful neighborhood to grow up in! Thank you too Susan!

  8. And the same sweet message back to you Susan. Thank you for such kind words. It was an amazing network of friends, neighbors and colleagues. Truly a blessing.

    Kerry Aguirre
  9. I knew Pete a little bit professionally and liked him a lot. Later I lost track of him. Rest in peace Pete and it was very nice knowing you.

    John O’Loughlin

    John O'Loughlin
  10. I have very fond memories of working with Pete during Shuttle Transportation Systems Operations Contract (STSOC) Proposal 1983-85 when I was working with Ford Aerospace. If I remember right, he retired as a Divisional Chief of Training Division.
    Great sport and story teller.
    Rest In Peace, Pete 🙏🙏🙏

    Mallik S Putcha
  11. I am a bit late in receiving the news of Pete’s passing. I enjoyed working With Pete in several task during the early days of NASA at Langley and after the move to Houston. I remember best about Pete what a joy it was working with him in the great manned space missions. I will always remember the laughs we shared as we made our homes in Friendswood.The stories brought laughs which was typical of Pete He was fun to share stories.It was a joy to know.

    John Stonesifer June 29 2022

    John Stonesifer

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