Charles R. Capps

Capps pic

Charles R. Capps, 78, passed away on March 6, 2015 after a sudden and brief battle with lung cancer.   He was born on August 8, 1936 in Idabel, Oklahoma to Odessa and Eugene Capps. Charles is survived by: his wife of 58 years, Kathleen Phillips Capps; sons, Chuck Capps of Aiken, South Carolina (and his wife, Donna (Fortner) Capps), Russ Capps of Nassau Bay, Texas (and his wife, Tami Heese), and Jerry Capps of Austin, Texas (and his wife, Kelly Jones Capps); grandsons Charlie Capps of Aiken, South Carolina (and his wife, Lindsey Smith Capps) and Cory Capps of Nassau Bay, Texas; granddaughters Katy Capps and Lane Capps of Austin, Texas; great grandchild, Charles Caden Capps of Aiken, South Carolina; his sister, Juanita (Capps) White of Texarkana, Texas, and extended family and many dear friends.

After attending East Central College in Ada, Oklahoma on a football scholarship, he joined the U.S. Air Force where he was trained on maintaining radar sites and played basketball.  He used his communication and electronics knowledge to build a career of over 40 years in the U.S. space program culminating as a ground controller in Mission Control at Johnson Space Center. He garnered many awards and commendations throughout his career including the prestigious Snoopy Award and the Manned Spacecraft Award.

Beginning just prior to his retirement in 2000, he and Kathleen traveled the globe together, visiting more than 45 countries and culminating with a trip to India in 2014.  He and Kathy were among the early members of “Z Krewe” in Galveston, where he served as “Big Daddy” in 2001. His love of golf took him to the greens of St. Andrews and for many years he enjoyed attending The Masters with his son Chuck. He will be remembered by many for his generous nature, loving and optimistic spirit, great stories, and booming voice.

A memorial will be held on Saturday, March 21, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. at Crowder Funeral Home, 111 East Medical Center Blvd, Webster, Texas 77598, followed by “one-hell-of-a-party” for friends and family who want to celebrate his life. In lieu of flowers those wishing to make a memorial donation in Charles Capps’ memory may do so to the Challenger Center at



  1. Chuck you were one heck of a person to work with. Always a sense of humor and of course had a shocking way of which you talked to people that seemed to get you in trouble. You will be greatly missed. There is one great angel looking down on us with a big smile and hearty laugh. Take care my friend

    Cathe Conner
  2. I had the honor & privilege of working with Chuck supporting NASA’s spaceflight program. He was a very likable person & shared his wealth of knowledge of the spaceflight program freely. I considered him a friend. He will be sorely missed by his friends & family. My condolences to his family for their loss. May you find comfort during these trying times.

    Jim Walsh, Jr.
    • Thank you for your kind words about Charles. He was so proud to be a part of the NASA team and felt he was a part of one of the greatest endeavors ever undertaken by the United States. The opportunity to work with and so many outstanding people never failed to honor and humble him. As the often said, “Not bad for a little boy from Idabel Oklahoma”.

      Kathleen Capps
  3. One of McCurtain County’s success stories has gone on to his reward. Our friend and fellow student of Idabel High School (Class of 1955), Charles Capps represented us well on the NASA program and in life in general. He reared a great family and set a wonderful example of a loving husband and father–married 58 years to Kathy Phillips (Class of 1957), Kathy we wish you and your family peace and comfort as you celebrate the life of a very good man.

    Wayne and Sue Warren

    Wayne L. Warren Sr.
  4. May comfort be found amongst family and friends during this difficult time…Chuck had it all…as a Flight Director in Mission Control walking in the room and seeing, hearing him at his console holding court gave me GREAT comfort as I took over the team…during the shift hearing him quietly hum part of a tune always told me he was GO! Running into him outside the MCC was a minute or two of warmth and humor…he was so easy to enjoy…yes Iindeed, he had it all…
    Milt Heflin
    Space Shuttle Flight Director
    NASA, Retired

    Milt Heflin
  5. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Capps family. Chuck was a “bigger than life” person and was a joy to know. His stories would make one great book someday.He impacted all of our lives in a positive way , and he will remain in our memories forever.

    Tom and Joyce Aiken
  6. What an honor it was to meet and get to know Chuck Capps! He was one the funniest and entertaining men of Z Krewe. There was NEVER a dull moment when Chuck Capps was in the crowd .. from dancing in his boxers to hanging ladies bras in the Z Krewe bead room window for all passerby to see he always entertained us. Chuck you are loved by all of Z Krewe and sorely missed. Peace and Comfort to the Capps family at this difficult time.

    Kristen Bennington
  7. To Chuck’s family.
    I am sorry for your loss.
    Chuck has been a friend and co-worker.
    We had a great time serving NASA in the MCC.
    May he rest in peace.

    Pete Braccio
  8. Kathy God bless you in your great loss. We will all miss him and mourn with you. The Lord wil not give you more than you can bear. Keep the faith
    Love Jim C

    Jim Citty
  9. I was so sorry to hear about Chuck’s passing. Chuck truly was one of the “Good Guys”. My heart and prayers go out the family. Chuck kept the Mission Control Center running in tip top shape during many critical operations and spaceflight missions. His expertise was greatly appreciated by those of us in the Flight Director Office and the Mission Operations Directorate. He was a great coworker and true friend to all. It was truly an honor to have been able to work with Chuck for so many great years. I am very sorry that I will be out of the country and not be able to attend the memorial and the post memorial party. To be sure, my heart and thoughts will be with him and his family as well as his friends.

    Alan L. (Lee) Briscoe
    Space Shuttle Flight Director
    NASA, Retired

    Lee Briscoe
  10. From another former GC and fellow IST Old Timer. The loss of Chuck is a great personal loss and I can only hope to see him again in the future.

    Tom Sheehan

    Tom Sheehan
  11. Chuck and I go back a long time. In the mid-70s, he was my supervisor at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. As a testament to the character of this man, when I moved into a Honeywell position at Johnson Space Center that had administrative responsibility over Chuck’s area, he could not have been more supportive to me personally and on the job; Chuck and I remained good friends. I want his family to know how well respected Chuck was by his colleagues, friends and our NASA customer. He displayed an infectious good natured attitude to everyone with whom he came in contact. Chuck had a positive impact on all of our lives and will be missed.

    Carl Smelser

    Carl Smelser
  12. I will always remember Chuck as a significant contributor to the outstanding MCC Operations support Team.
    Jim Stokes

    Jim Stokes
  13. John and I loved “Big Daddy 7” and shared many great times with him and Kathleen at Z Krewe events. He and Kathleen were always the first out on the dance floor, and we all admired their grace and elegance. We will miss him, but we are cheered to imagine that he is somewhere wonderful teaching everybody how to have a good time, Texas style.

    Carroll and John Pfeiffer-Cobb
  14. We have lost a dear friend who cared so much for others and made a difference at work. I will miss his overwhelming presence in any room he entered with that voice but I’ll miss his friendship most of all. A real man and a very real friend.
    Best wishes to all of his family.

    Gary Morse
    former NASA Space Shuttle Network Director

    Gary Morse
  15. I can close my eyes and still see Chuck’s smile. He was always supportive and kind. We shared good times working at JSC. Although our paths diverged when I moved to the Marshall Space Flight Center, I’ve always thought of him. I will miss him very much.

    John D. Hinton
    Houston Command

    John Hinton
  16. I had the privilege of working with Chuck as a Simnet, Houston Command, and as he was walking out the door to retirement in 2000, a Ground COntroller (GC). Chuck always had a presence about him. Always had a smile on his face that made the room warm and his hand shake and hug were always “firm” ones. He will be missed in our hearts and will forever be a “GC”.

    Thank you Chuck for always just being yourself.

    Rebecca Marsh
  17. Worked with Chuck as a Ground Controller until 2000. We retired at the same time and shared a wonderful Retirement Party together. Will miss our lunches each month and going to watch Chance play football in high school and college. Always meant a lot him to see your face in the stands. But, most of all just our friendship throughout all these years. Our love and prayers go out to Kathlynn, Charles, Russell and Jerry.

    Retired Ground Controller and friend.
    Norman, Cheryl, Dawn, Scott and Chance

    Norman Talbott
  18. Rest in Peace.

    Fred Pifer
  19. And another one bites the dust. Chuck was one of the of the “The Last of the Good Guys”. It was an honor and a pleasure to have shared time with him either personal or work related. I consider him to have been a valued friend and professional associate and he will be greatly missed. God bless Kathleen and the boys and give them the strength to endure this great loss.

    Robby Robertson
  20. Chuck was someone who always had a story to tell. As a young technician in the MCC, we had times on the graveyard shift when the crews were asleep, and we had a chance to share stories. I miss those wonderful times with a man that I had the highest respect for as a person, and a friend. So, take care, my friend. You have made a positive impression in my life, and I only hope that I can be as good as you were. May GOD bless your entire family, for, although they have lost you on this earth, you are still looking down at all of them, guiding them with laughter, guidance, and good stories for all to enjoy forever.

    Brad Evans
  21. You never know how bright someone’s light shines until it’s not there anymore. Chuck was a ray of sunshine for all who knew and loved him; he always saw the best in everything and everybody, and believed in having a good time. I’ve never known a couple more in love and dedicated to each other than Chuck and Kathleen; you only had to watch them dance together to see they were a match made in heaven. We’re so grateful for the special memories of them both. We will miss the light Chuck so warmly spread here on earth but when we look up on a starry night we will know that one of the brightest stars in heaven will be Chuck Capps; forever a part of NASA and a beacon in the night.

    Our hearts and prayers go out to Kathleen, Chuck Jr., Russell, Jerry and families, we share your loss and wish you God’s love and strength at this time.

    Don and Jenny Cramer
  22. Charles Capps was one of the nicest person we had been lucky to know during the last 20 years. We will deeply miss him and that broad welcome smile he gave to everyone. As a Track Controller, working the console, the reassuring Chuck’s voice
    made us feel we were in good hands. We will miss him very much.
    Our hearts go out to Kathleen, Chuck Jr., Russell, Jerry and families.

    Gilbert Ansart and Toshiko Rose
  23. KJ, It is so sad that my long time best friend is gone. I will miss him terribly. I pray that Chuck will rest in peace and that God will keep you and your loved ones in His care. Neither tears or words can express the sadness and loss that Ilene and I feel. We are so blessed to have had you and Chuck in our lives. I have often looked back to the 1950’s and 60’s and remembered the times that we shared in the Air Force and our jobs in the space business at the Jet Propulsion Lab. I have often discussed with Ron and David that Chuck hired them at JPL and, through his professional guidance, set them on the path to successful careers. There are so many good things to reminisce. We love you and my love for Chuck will always be with me. Ken and Ilene Sharp

    KJ, This is so heartbraking. Chuck was such a pleasure to know. We wish there had been more time. Please take care of yourself and your family. We both love you lots. Ilene

    Ken and Ilene Sharp
  24. My condolences to Chuck’s family. I had the privilege of working with Chuck, a fellow McCurtain County native, in Nasa’s mission control in the Space Shuttle Program during the early 1990’s. He was working in MOD when I was working as a mission evaluation room manager (Rockwell). Chuck was always ready to work with the MER to resolve mission anomalies. I too remember that he enjoyed telling stories. He spoke of his family often, and never missed an opportunity to brag about his children.

    Evelyn Jo Whisenhunt Guthery
    Space Shuttle Mission Manager, Orbiter Program Office
    Boeing, Retired

    Evelyn Jo Whisenhunt Guthery
  25. I considered Chuck, “Big Daddy 7”, a friend. He had a great laugh and was always ready for a good joke or story or even a little mischief when it came to the Z Krewe get togethers. My fondest memories are of him and Kathleen on the dance floor smiling and laughing and having the best time. My wish for Kathleen and the family is that with each new day, May the light of healing shine gently upon you and bring you peace.

    Linda Bridges
  26. I don’t think I ever saw Chuck without a big smile on his face and big booming greeting. Just being around him would lift your spirits. You couldn’t help but giggle. When he and Kathleen hit the dance floor (or the aisles between tables), it was hard to take your eyes from them. A wildly inventive dancer, he’d twirl Kathleen so fast I don’t know how she kept up (58 yrs. of practice?). In the middle of standard steps he’d throw a little jig-like step in. I tried dancing with him only once…and my admiration for Kathleen greatly increased, especially for her ability to remain standing. It’s very hard when people who have left such a strong positive impression on you leave. But I think Heaven is now a much jollier place. God bless Kathleen and their children and may He comfort them now and always.

    Tommie McMillan
  27. To Chuck’s family – Please accept my condolences. Chuck and I were co-workers and friends through many significant years of Human Space Flight Operations support at the JSC Mission Control Center. Chuck was always ready to take on difficult tasks and turned them into successes. We both enjoyed traveling and often talked about locations that we had visited. He will be missed by all. You are in our thoughts and prayers during this very sad time.

    David Holy

    David Holly
  28. To his loved ones… Jim and I are indeed saddened at the loss of such a wonderful friend and charter Zanie. He will be missed for sure without doubt, for so many glorious reasons. He lived a great and adventurous life alongside his bride Kathleen and raised his sons to be their individual successes. Few couples today can celebrate their love and devotion for one another like Chuck and Kathleen can!

    Chuck will always be remembered for many great qualities he possessed and for the kindness he showed so many people in business and in friendship. We had the honor to work together on so many different projects over the years and his endless zeal for everything he undertook was so noted. We will treasure these memories of him and send heartfelt wishes for peace and prayers to all his family.

    We want to help celebrate his life and hope to see other friends at his memorial services. God Bless and Keep you Chuck you are shining among the stars with so many fellow aerospace workers that gave their all!
    Nancy and Jim Manlove

    Nancy and Jim Manlove
  29. I am very sorry to see Chuck go. My condolences go out to all his family. He was a pleasure to work with, did an outstanding job as a Ground Controller and I always had confidence that whatever job I assigned him would be accomplished. It made me proud that I could bring him aboard. May he rest in peace. He is in my prayers.

    George Egan
    Ground Controller, Retired

    George Egan
  30. Chuck and I worked together on the DSS Console in the JSC MCC for several years. He was a great boss and even better friend. We officiated H.S basketball and football together. We partied together. We laughed together. He was always proud of his family and talked a lot about his wife Kathleen and his boys Charles Jr., Russ and Jerry. I will really miss him.

    Kenneth Aitken

    Kenneth Aitken
  31. Chuck was the first GC to welcome me into the group when I transferred over from Engineering in 1997, and I had the privilege to learn from him for over three years before he retired. Working console with him was a treat. Being relieved on console by Chuck was a different experience, as he unplugged your headset and sent you on your way before you could start to brief him. He had done his homework, and was ready for anything when he walked in the door. Heaven stands relieved, Capps, Charles R. Has taken the shift!

    Bill Foster
  32. Chuck was a highly competent GC and overall leader of the Mission Control Center ground support team. He was an extrovert, exuded confidence and his enthusiasm was infectious. He was one of those key individuals who knew his business and inspired others to achieve the excellence that made human spaceflight a success. He was fun to be around and all of us will miss him.

    Jack Knight
  33. Kathy and family,

    It does not seem very long ago that Charles and I were classmates of the class of 1955 in our hometown of Idabel, Oklahoma. Charles was an excellent athlete, especially as a member of the Idabel Warriors football team. I glad that we were able to visit with the two of you at a recent high school class reunion. We all sat at the same table together and had a good visit.

    You and your family has our condolence.

    W. O. (Dub) and Charlotte Mowery

    W. O. (Dub) and Charlotte Mowery
  34. To the Capps Family –

    I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of one of my favorite “father” figures I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. My prayers are with each and every one of you. Much love –

    Carrie Douglas Kliphon

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