James McBarron

James William McBarron II, 82, passed away November 16th, 2020 in Webster, Texas after a prolonged illness. He was born on May 1st, 1938 in Lima, Ohio to James W. McBarron and Ruth Ester Stallkamp. He is survived by: his loving wife of 55 years, Margaret Ann McBarron; sons, James William McBarron III and Thomas Christopher McBarron; grandchildren, Kelsi Lynn Melnick, Matthew James McBarron, and Taylor Patricia McBarron; numerous family members and friends; and his faithful canine companion Rascal.

James William McBarron II earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology in 1960 from the University of Dayton and, in 1983, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Houston Clear Lake. From 1958 to 1961, he worked part time on a University of Dayton contract with the Wright Patterson Air Force Base Aeromedical Laboratory that provided student test subjects to determine human endurance characteristics during and after exposure to extreme environmental conditions. His work as a student assistant also involved pressure suit design testing including suit hardware evaluation for the NASA Project Mercury. His career at NASA began in 1961 as an aerospace technologist with the Crew Equipment Branch, Life Sciences Division, Space Task Group, at Langley Field, Virginia. During his time with NASA, he supported the Manned Spacecraft Center at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas and worked with spacesuits for all NASA flight programs including Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, Skylab, Shuttle, and the International Space Station. Throughout his career, James W. McBarron II was given several prestigious awards including being a member of the Mission Operations Team for Apollo XIII that received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the American Astronautical Society Victor A. Prather Award for outstanding contributions in the field of Extra Vehicular Activity protection, NASA Exceptional Service Medal, NASA Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Snoopy, and others. He is the author and co-author of many spacesuit-related publications and he frequently represented NASA at national and international aerospace symposiums. When he retired in 1999, he was the Crew and Thermal Systems Division Chief. In 1999, he took a position with ILC Dover, Inc. as Spacesuit Systems Manager where he reviewed advanced spacesuit technology requirements and design concepts for future manned space flight programs. In 2002, he joined the “Gray Beards” and provided knowledge and insight learned from past programs to support development of advanced spacesuit technology and inflatable products for current and future manned-space missions including the Artemis Project.  He had a passion for teaching youth about space and science and was also an active member of the NASA Alumni League, Bay Area Community Advisory Panel, and a lifetime member of the Knights of Columbus of the 4th Degree.

James William McBarron II was a devoted Catholic and founding member of Saint Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, 18223 Point Lookout Drive, Houston, Texas 77058, where a rosary vigil and viewing will be held on Wednesday, December 2, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. Following the rosary vigil and viewing, a Mass of Christian burial will be held at 11 a.m. at Saint Paul the Apostle Catholic Church. Internment will immediately follow the Mass of Christian burial  with a short graveside service at Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery in Dickinson, Texas.

In lieu of flowers those wishing to make a memorial donation in James William McBarron II’s memory may do so to the James W McBarron Memorial Fund supporting the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Link address: https://fundraising.stjude.org/site/TR/GiftFunds/GiftFunds?px=6862850&pg=personal&fr_id=39300


  1. Chuck and I are so saddened to learn of Jim’s passing. He had such a distinguished career and was a great neighbor. He will be missed!

    Karen Jones
  2. To the McBarron family

    It’s been an honor and a privilege to have hosted Jim and Peggy as part of
    Jplmuseum.org Rural Schools Educational Initiative to come to Oregon and have
    Jim share his experiences with NASA and inspire students of all ages. We know that he helped our astronauts reach the heaven’s and now he has taken up a permanent address among the stars. Our love and condolences to the McBarron family.

    James Loftus
    Executive Director

    James Loftus
  3. James, was a great person and Sir Knight, he was always there when needed.

    Joe Kramer
  4. So long Jim, may you rest in peace and continue to overlook Space Suit design and testing for NASA. Unfortunately, the present generation is smarter but perhaps not as dedicated as your generation to the work assignments.

    Baley Davis, Jr.
  5. My first NASA boss. A true gentleman and space suit expert. I will miss seeing and visiting with Jim at EA reunions.

    Bruce Sauser
    • I’m sorry for your loss, Bruce.

      Kandy (Hosea) Thomas
  6. Jim was an outstanding engineer and friend for many years. We both came to JSC in the early 1960’s – Jim in EC and I was in EP (Propulsion and Power Division). We both worked for Walt Guy during our careers. Jim was a straight shooter, always willing to help, and was a valued colleague over the years both at NASA and in the AIAA and the NASA Alumni League (Jim was a current Board Member). I greatly respected and admired Jim and learned a great deal about his technical area from him. Most recently, Jim and his wife replaced me and my wife in our annual two-week education outreach lecture tours of rural schools in Oregon. I always enjoyed the monthly get-together at the Gilruth Center held by the NASA Alumni League pavilion where Jim and I could visit and reminisce.

    Norman Chaffee
    • We will miss Jim greatly, Norm. Frank Buzzard.

      Frank Buzzard
  7. Jim you will be missed at Knights of Columbus meetings and functions. Your enthusiasm for living was contagious. Your willingness to share your experiences with others inspiring

    Demetrio Anthony Quezada
  8. I worked with Jim a lot on Apollo and Skylab suits and testing. His team made great leaps in pressure suit mobility, comfort and cooling. I’d love to do it again 1

    Joe Kerwin
  9. My heartfelt prayers and condolences to all of Jim’s family. Jim was a dear friend and NASA colleague. I worked with him closely on Space Shuttle and International Space Station. Jim was a giant in the American Space Program in the development of all space suits. We could not have repaired satellites or built the ISS doing EVAs from Shuttle without Jim’s lifelong development and testing of the space suits.

    So many of us at NASA as well as you, the family, will miss him greatly. I look forward to seeing Jim in Heaven after the resurrection. What a reunion that will be!

    Blessings. Frank Buzzard

    Frank Buzzard
    • Well said, Frank.

      Kandy (Hosea) Thomas
  10. My condolence to Jim’s wife Peggy and children. I meet Jim in 1961 at NASA in Houston, Texas. He was my first boss and we worked together overseeing space suit design and production for Mercury and Gemini. We were also room mates and best friends for those years. Lots of love from him during my stay at NASA and after.
    God speed Jim.

    Henry Friloux
  11. When I started at the geologist suit subject for the Mark III pressure garment, back in the mid-90s, I had no idea that Jim had started out as a geologist until he gave me a thumbs up for my work in the Mark III. It was an honor to come into Crew and Thermal Systems as a “non-engineer” and get kudos from Jim, someone I looked up to greatly. Our last work together was advising some of the young engineers doing the new suit system, and again, it was great to hear his wisdom and experiences – it’s always nice, even as a “graybeard”, to learn something new, and Jim was a great teacher at any time in one’s career. Jim, you will be missed, particularly when it comes to educating the next generation. Rest in peace, my friend.

    Dean Eppler
  12. Condolences to the McBarron family. I had the great opportunity to get to know Jim as he participated in several U.S. Spacesuit Knowledge Capture (SKC) Program events for NASA. In these events, Jim shared his knowledge about spacesuits and lessons learned. As NASA’s SKC Program Manager, it was my honor to engage with Jim in this way. He will remain a legend in our spacesuit community and beyond. Rest in peace Jim.

    Cinda Chullen
  13. I am so sorry that we have lost Jim McBarron. I had great respect for Jim and he will truly be missed. Rhonda Hyland

    Rhonda Hyland
  14. Mr. & Mrs. McBarron were some of our first customers when we opened Bay Area Meats in 1984. They have been consistently valued customers. We enjoy looking up to see them come through the door. Mr. McBarron was always in a great mood. We wish more people could have the outlook in life that this fine man had. He exemplified kindness and commitment. We will greatly miss his visits. Condolences to the the entire McBarron family.

    David Steinke
  15. Our heartfelt condolences to the McBarron family. We met the McBarrons in the early 1970s as we all moved into Clear Lake Forest and became their neighbors just around the corner. May the joy of life everlasting in God’s presence be Jim’s reward. “Be with us, Lord. We trust in you and hope in your glorious Resurrection. We lift up the cup of sorrow, confident that you will change our mourning to rejoicing.”

    Mary Sue Anton and family
  16. A wonderful man to know and work with for many years. My families’ condolences and prayers are with the McBarron family in this time of great sorrow. May the Lord Bless and Keep Jim and his family and grant them peace.

    Shannon Strimple
  17. I am so sorry for your lost Harold like when Jim would call him My prayers go out to you and your family Harold died on Nov 15 now Jim and Harold can really sit down and talk They are both in a good place

    Dianne Battaglia

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