Christopher Columbus Kraft, Jr.

Christopher Columbus Kraft, Jr. died at his home in Clear Lake City, Texas on Monday, July 22, 2019. Chris was born in Phoebus, Virginia on February 28, 1924. He graduated from Hampton High School in 1941, and Virginia Tech in 1944.

Beginning his career as an aeronautical engineer, Chris rose to become one of the world’s most highly recognized and decorated aerospace executives. He achieved this because of his commitment and dedication to the mission, his relationship with people at all levels (from Presidents and Royalty to interns) and his leadership. Chris also used these same characteristics to contribute to the success of other industries such as medical and energy.

Chris was preceded in death by his parents, Christopher Columbus Kraft, Sr. and Vanda Suddreth Kraft, and granddaughter, Stella Blue Kraft.

Chris is survived by his wife of 68 years, Betty Anne; his son Gordon Turnbull Kraft (Robin) and their son, Christopher R. Kraft; his daughter Kristi-Anne DuPont (Glenn) and their sons Colin and Steven DuPont; six great grandchildren and one great grandson.

Chris attended Immanuel Episcopal Church in Phoebus, Virginia, where he and Betty Anne were married in 1950. Chris was a member of St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church in Nassau Bay, Texas, where a private family service well be held, officiated by the Rev. Mike Stone and the Rev. Jenny Scott.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Capitol Fund Drive, at 18300 Upper Bay Rd., Houston, TX 77058; or to the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, 651 Danville Dr., Suite 101, Orlando, FL 32825.


  1. Godspeed Mr. Kraft. Such a sweet man who walked at dillards with us so humbly. No one knew who he was, a giant from the space race still pushing himself with that walker. Condolences to his family and friends.

    M wright
  2. My deepest condolences to the Kraft family during their time of loss. I also would like to extend my deepest thanks for Mr. Kraft’s contributions to our Nation’s history and his family’s support during his legendary career that enabled it.

    S Stafford
  3. RIP Mr. Kraft. You did your share of work on this Earth and beyond. We will always remember what an awesome gentleman you were.

    Dot and Tom Davis (NASA-JSC retirees)

    Dot Davis
  4. God Speed, Dr. Kraft,
    It was an honor and a privilege for me to have you as my first NASA Flight Director.

    William Gravett
  5. Prayers go out to Dr. Kraft’s family. He was a brilliant giant of a leader and great person to all who had the honor to meet and know him. The nation owes much to him for his many contributions to US Manned Space. May he Rest In Peace.

    Larry Moon
  6. My father used to talk about Chris Kraft when I was a young child, and I could tell he was very impressed with him. Only later did I realize who he was and the great impact he had on the Apollo missions.

    To know that a life has been well-lived and that a person has made a contribution to the greater good of the United States and the world is quite an accomplishment.

    God Speed Chris Kraft –
    Rosemary Roosa
    Daughter of Apollo 14 Astronaut Stu Roosa

    Rosemary Roosa
  7. Dr Kraft was very accepting and a good leader. He only demanded that you do your best and hard work. He had a very good memory and knew details that most of us would forget. He was a tremendous factor in the manned spaceflight. He will be missed but left his heritage with the many engineers at JSC.

    Larry E Bell
  8. There is no doubt whatsoever that Dr. Kraft was one of the true pioneers of manned spaceflight. It was an honor to have known and worked with Chris. Godspeed, my friend.

    Robert Wren
  9. Dr. Kraft was the very epitome of a visionary yet practical leader whose success and legacy will benefit our race for the rest of our history. I am grateful for his friendship and and guidance; glad that I was able to know him, and even more pleased that he knew me. We will all try to live up to the example he set for us.

    Norman Chaffee
  10. The day I met Dr. Kraft on NASA 2 (I was the Flight Engineer) in 1979 (I was 23 years young) at Ellington Field, I recognized his Leadership demeanor immediately. I was honored to be in his presence. I particularly recall his Lou Gehrig story, from when he was a young man. And, also, I asked him face to face, “Why haven’t the Russians gone to the moon”…and his answer clearly is one of my most cherished memories of him. Leader, genius, American icon, and GREAT man! I am blessed and fortunate to have known him. I will never forget him. His book, “Flight, My Life in Mission Control”, was wonderful. Sincere condolences to the entire Kraft and NASA Family.

    Alan C. Higgs
  11. While I had participated in Apollo meetings where Chris had been in charge, I’d never met Chris face-to-face until a barbershop encounter several years ago. He and I had the same barber. I’d always wanted to share my appreciation for his huge contribution in putting a man on the Moon. I viewed the moment as Providential. For, in a sense, Chris was every bit as much an explorer as Christopher Columbus, Chris’s namesake. While Columbus was instrumental
    in discovering the new world of America, likewise Chris served a similar role in discovering the new world of the Moon.

    I’d authored a book twenty years ago sharing the Providence involved in the Moon landing. Chris Kraft’s role was very much according to the Lord’s plans and purposes so that the book included this: “The name Columbia is derived from the word “columba” meaning the dove, a type of the Holy Spirit. The Scripture affirms that the Holy Spirit is a guide. Additionally, God linked an admiral of space exploration with Columbus’s journey. Christopher Columbus Kraft founded flight operations and mission control. His flight controllers’ bunk room lock had the combination 1492, the year Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas.”

    Waiting for the barber to finish with Chris, I rushed out to my car for a copy of the book I wanted to share with Chris. Presenting him a copy, I inscribed my heart-felt thanks, “To Christopher Columbus Kraft, who made it possible to put men on the Moon.”

    And here is a link to the photo our barber took of us that day.

    And the same Holy Spirit who guided Chris to lead our country
    to the Moon has guided our friend to heaven to join his Lord and
    Savior Jesus Christ. Godspeed Chris. Jerry Woodfill

    Jerry Woodfill
  12. Chris Kraft will always be remembered as the Man, others received more recognition, but he was the Man. I will always be so humbled to of known him and be in his presents. I offtened reminded him of the house he built MOCR 2 , what an amazing legacy he will be greatly missed but always remembered as the Man.
    God Speed and rest in peace.

    David Cisco
  13. I enjoyed working with Dr Kraft and was always glad we were fortunate to have him. He was one of many who made NASA great

    Jeri L Brown
  14. As a Contracting Officer in General Research I made several procurement presentations to Chris Kraft. I believe the key to his success was his ability to recognize who was real and who was not. We had some dedicated and brilliant people and some that were basically, bureaucrats. By listening to the answers
    to questions he would ask, he could discern the difference and make difficult
    decisions. He had a talent to make the right choices. I still remember his little smile when he disagreed with something in your presentation. What an honor
    and privilege it was to work in the Apollo period and for people like Chris Kraft.

    Charley Stamps
  15. My deepest condolences to Mr. Kraft’s family and friends. To me — as a fan of NASA all my life — Chirstopher Kraft seemed to be one of those people who would be with us forever. And in a way, he will live on forever, with everything he contributed to space flight and all of the lives he influenced along the way.

    Nancy Atkinson
  16. Dr kraft
    i wish i could of known you…
    you are a great leader, with a lot of confindens…
    thank you for your servus…
    and thank you for your servis Betty anne , you also had a very important job.
    (for if it it wast for you the us would of not landed on the moon)
    God bless
    love you guys
    steve ohio

    steven tosi

Leave Your Condolences

Make sure you enter the (*) required information where indicated. Basic HTML code is allowed.