Joseph Brian Kilday

 Joseph B. Kilday 84, of Clear Lake, Texas passed away on Saturday, June 28, 2014. He was born June 11, 1930 in Colton, CA the son of the late Cecil and Cleo Kilday. Joe enlisted in the Air Force in 1955 and attended electronics school in Texas and Illinois. He then served in Anchorage, AK and Greenland. After he was discharged he attended East Tennessee State College and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering. He went to work for Ratheon in Bristol, TN for a few years then moved his family to Cape Canaveral, FL where he joined North American Aviation (later changed to Rockwell Int’l.) and the Apollo program in 1965. In 1975 he was transferred to Houston to join the Shuttle program as an engineer for SAIL (Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory). He became a Supervisor then a Manager for RSOC (Rockwell Shuttle Operations Co.) before retiring in 1990. In retirement Joe got interested in genealogy and spent many hours researching the history of his family back to the Civil War and beyond. He spent his retirement enjoying his family. In 1996 he and his wife Shirley moved back to Greeneville, TN where they had met and married in 1959. They enjoyed the company of extended family and old friends and he especially enjoyed attending UT football games with his lifelong friend Buddy. Three years later they returned to Clear Lake to be close to their daughter and her family. He was a wonderful husband taking care of his wife Shirley after she lost her sight and her health and a very special father and grandfather. Joe is survived by his daughter Charissa Deatherage and her husband John Deatherage; his grandchildren John Eric, Shane and Tonya Deatherage; his sisters-in-law Peggy Byrd and Renate Idell; as well as many nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by his wife of 54 years, Shirley R. Kilday.   Funeral services will be held Wednesday, July 2nd at 10:00 a.m. at Crowder Funeral Home in Webster with interment at Forest Park East Cemetery in Webster.


  1. Joe I wish that I could have seen you one more time at the SAIL luncheons. You were a joy to work with from the start of SAIL during its inception and through all the testing and long hours leading to each Shuttle launch. Those years were wonderful ones bringing out the best in each and every one of us. Working with you and the rest of the SAIL crew, it truly was an experience of a life time… You will be missed

    Bob Hager

    Bob Hager
  2. Joe was a super engineer admired by all.

    James C. Snowden
  3. Joe was a leader and mentor to many in SAIL. He was the epitome of a professional engineer. I was proud to be associated with him. We have missed seeing him at the SAIL luncheons as frequently in the last year or so.

    Take heart at the wonderful person he was in this time of grief.

    Sherry Greisen
  4. I am so sorry to hear of Joe’s passing. I worked with Joe on the Kilday genealogy for many years. He did more than anyone to search and record the history. I enjoyed so much meeting him in Greeneville when he lived there.
    He is missed.

    Charissa, if you could email me, I would like to call you and express my condolences in person.

    Bill McNeese

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