Mary Wilkerson

Mary Wilkerson, 63, resident of Friendswood, TX, passed away February 23, 2023 in Houston, TX. She was born on September 28, 1959 in San Antonio, TX. She was raised in Laredo, Tx, graduating from Baylor University followed by her Masters at North Texas University. She was a Librarian Archivist and Supervisor at NASA JSC Image Repository for 35 years. She earned the respect and love of all who knew her and worked with her. She spent 10 years working weekends at University of Houston Downtown Library on weekends helping students with their research.

She is preceded in death by her parents, Joseph and Herminia Martinez; brother, Joseph “J.B.” Martinez, Jr.

She leaves behind her husband of 40 years, Allen Wilkerson; Serena Smith (Goddaughter), cousins, numerous friends and coworkers.

She is loved and will be sorely missed.


  1. I was so sorry to hear of the news. It was so great knowing and working with you. You have sooo much knowledge and were always ready to assist. You will be missed. May we continue to live in your memory and my deepest condolences to Allen and the family.


    Libby Moreno
  2. With her quiet, unquestioned competence, her generous spirit, her unhesitating willingness to help, her warmth and humor, she was a valued team member to all of us, but more so was part of the family we were so fortunate to have found at work. She is loved and will be sorely missed.

    Laura Gross
  3. Mary was already working in the JSC technical library when I hired her away to the Image Repository. It was one of the best decisions, hiring or otherwise, of my own tenure at JSC. Mary was exceptionally competent and dedicated and always took work off my plate rather than adding to it. I know she will be greatly missed there and elsewhere and I am so sad to learn of her passing.

    Gary Seloff
  4. I was saddened to hear of Mary’s passing. Mary could find NASA photos faster than anyone. I would joke in the Astronaut meetings that Mary had the entire Imagery Online memorized. Even before we went digital, Mary helped me out countless times pulling negatives of inflight photos from the archives. She always had a smile and a kind word to say as well. Mary will be deeply missed as a co-worker and as a friend. Rest in Peace Mary…

    Sean Collins
  5. I worked on a daily basis with Mary during a three-decades’ span. That ought to tell everyone right there how painful it is for me to speak of her in past tense. For me, Mary is a part of the future as well because her legacy lives in the seeds of her life-long sowing process. The positive outlook she had on life and her smile which she wore with honesty like a piece of clothing just thrilled the hearts of many help-seekers. She loved the challenge of a good research endeavor and was always able to visualize the light at the end of the tunnel no matter how difficult of a search that lay ahead. That light nearly always eventuated in reality, and more often than not, it started with alfa-numeric figures like S-67- or STS-72- or 2000-E- Nearly every day was like the continuation of an Easter-egg hunt that all her world-wide neighbors could utilize ad infinatum. That joy might have gone a long way toward the creation of that ever presnt smile.

    Mike Gentry
  6. Mary, how do I describe years of having someone in my life, in just a few short paragraphs?

    From day one when you joined my team in Scenelisting as fill-in help during 24/7 Shuttle flights – we formed an instant connection – to my tear-filled final day in building 424, you and I traveled many paths together.

    Graveyard shifts that sometimes found us giddy from lack of sleep, to laughing about our eyes being permanently burned from watching countless hours of flashing experiment video, to a mutual love of long earth view passes – especially if lightning and Auroras were in the mix – our Scenelistng stint alone could fill a memory book. And always, no matter the shift, hand-overs never lasted just 30 minutes because once “job stuff” was out of the way, it was visit time.

    When I transferred to Mission Video, and you returned to 424 – lunch outings became a must – sushi and Indian were favorites. It was on one of those outings you very nonchalantly asked if I was tired of shift-work, and would I be interested in a position coming open on your team? My immediate response was a resounding YES.

    Though I didn’t have the Masters degree requirement for the position, you persuaded your boss and your team to at least sit down for a group talk. I passed the test, and became a Cataloger in the Imagery Repository.

    The years that followed were a roller-coaster of a ride – images, images, images! Good times, and tragic times. But always along the way, our 424 / 423 family had lots of fun, too. Holiday parties, Safety/Total health days, and an epic 40th birthday for yours truly. Friday Pho lunches, were followed by afternoon giggles as we drank bubble teas. The camaraderie was second to none.

    When I left JSC, thanks to Facebook you and I continued our friendship. I was ever so grateful to see you in person again in 2019 – it had been years – and those were welcomed hugs. Who could have known that would be the last time? I am crushed by that thought.

    Fly high sweet friend – you’ve slipped the surly bonds of Earth, to touch the face of God. Until we meet again.

    Vicki Hawthorne
  7. I was fortunate to know Mary since 2007 when I was hired by the UHD library. I will never forget our conversations when we worked weekends together. Actually, I was always looking forward to those shifts. When Mary was on duty, one could be sure the library lab would be open on time and all the patron’s questions answered with attention and high expertise, she was incredibly punctual and reliable.
    My sincere condolences to Mary’s family.

    Elena Geilikman
  8. Mary was a sweet people magnet. I was instantly friends with her because of her wit, smile, and that Starbucks Cup! I had the honor of seeing her and greeting her every weekend at UHD at the Police Dispatch Office. Those brief encounters let me know how special she was. My condolences to all the people who were fortunate enough to know her longer. She was amazing and will be very missed.
    My prayers to her family and loved ones.

    Stephen D. Vega
  9. So many fond memories of knowing you for 2 decades of my life working so closely together at JSC-NASA. It all started in Bldg 45 at the Technical Library where I would assist you with Interlibrary loans. Then we started working together on the Imagery/Television Ops contract in Bldg 8 where we continued our path together. Scenelisting was at times a challenge with the long hours, shift work, and more. We laughed often, at times from sleep deprivation, and enjoyed the various in-flight experiments, many blinding light flashes and the complete awe of spectacular earth passes and lightning strikes taboot. Yes so many lunches just the two of us, or in a group. Mexican, Indian, Sushi, Pho and our introduction to ” Bubble Tea” by our coworker David. So many laughs and serious times as well. I left Bldg 8 to work in Mission Control/Houston TV for a couple of years and was extremely happy and beyond thrilled to meet you for lunch one day at a favorite Pho establishment that we loved, it was there you offered me the fabulous opportunity to work for you in Bldg 424 Imagery where I remained until illness took over andcmy career working for you as the “BEST co worker and Boss ever” ended in 2004. You taught me so very much in the Library World from technical support, visual, photo Ops, working the the STS & ISS crews, press conferences and so much more. The history of Spaceflight was your passion and expertise in every way. My career would have not been as wonderful if our paths didn’t crossed so many years ago. Godspeed Mary you have touched the face of the Heavens and God. You will be sorely missed here by myself and many countless others. Soar high my friend

    Cathy Bright Wesley
  10. News of Mary’s passing stopped me right in my tracks; I couldn’t get my head around the idea that such a vibrant life has left the building(s). Working with her in Bldg 8 and 424, she was always the “go to” person on Friday afternoons when I needed an image by endoftheday. All the condolences from the people above captured what I would say here and every one of those comments are absolutely spot on. My biggest regret is not sharing lunches with her more often; my happiest thought is she is surrounded by Astronauts, JSC engineers, co-workers in the IMAGERY Branch who have passed on and are crowded around her welcoming her to the “here after” and regaling her with stories of their flights, experiments and day-to-day activities at JSC. She would still be able to smile and say “YES” to every request…

    Steve Candler
  11. Sharing my condolences to Mary’s family & friends. May the grace of God comfort and supply every need during this difficult time.
    Peace & Blessings,

    Sheva Moore, Video Librarian
    Mary W. Jackson, NASA Headquarters


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