Thomas Edward Ohnesorge

Thomas Edward Ohnesorge passed away peacefully on Wednesday, March 1, 2017, after suffering from Alzheimer’s. He was born the youngest son of Walter and Irene Virginia (Galligan) Ohnesorge, on November 21, 1937 in Fairhaven, Massachusetts.  Tom graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1959 with a degree in Electrical Engineering. That year he began his 49 year long career with the Space Program in Langley, Virginia.  Shortly thereafter he was transferred and moved to Houston, Texas, to work for what eventually became the Johnson Space Center. It was there that he met Barbara Ann Shepard and they were married September 20, 1969. Their first son, Gary Walter was born in 1973, followed by another son, Michael Louis in 1979 and a daughter, Virginia Lee in 1980. After his retirement, Tom developed a love for travel and made several trips with his wife Barbara, which included New York City, Santa Fe, New Mexico and a weeks-long trek to Europe that included a trip on the Queen Mary 2 Cruise Ship.  Bob was preceded in death by his parents and older brother, Robert.  He will be missed by his wife of 47 years, Barbara; his son Gary and his wife Kristine; his son Michael; his daughter Virginia and her husband John Passineau;  nieces, Cathy Weiss and Sally Postmus nephews, Dan Ohnesorge and Steven Ohnesorge.

A viewing will be held on Monday, March 6th, 2017, from 6 – 8 pm with a vigil at 7 pm  at the Crowder Funeral Home. The funeral will be 10:30am, Tuesday, March  7th at the St. Bernadette Catholic Church, 15500 El Camino Real, Houston, 77062.  Thomas will be laid to rest in the Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery, Dickinson.


  1. Worked with Tom for several years in MOD. He was one of the “good ones.” And always a gentleman. So sad to hear that he has passed away.

    Harry St John
  2. Barbara. So sorry to hear that Tom has passed. Over the many years I’ve enjoyed communicating with him; he was a great source of space information. We grew up together in New England, and my family spent many happy days with his family at Christmas, Easter, and many cookouts in our back yard in Tiverton R.I. We enjoyed your visit a few years ago to our home in NH. It’s been a tough couple of years I’m sure, but thank you for all the care and love you gave him during this time. I’ll miss him. Bill Harrison

    William Harrison
  3. I am sorry to hear of Tom’s passing.Tom and I worked together in support of The ESTL before he went over to MOD. He was always willing to help us young engineers understand the going ons in the branch, both technical and political. He was always kind and a joy to talk to. He always tried to make our Christmas lunch so he could see how the lab had evolved and to share remembrances with old friends. We also shared jokes and information via email after he retired.

    Ned J. Robinson
  4. Too many of our wonderful NASA colleagues like Tom Ohnesorge who accomplished so much during the 1960s and 1970’s are now beginning to pass and are no longer on this earth with us. We continue to love and miss all of them.

    “The clock of life is wound but once, and no man has the power to tell just when the hands will stop, at late or early hour. Now is the only time we own. Live, love, learn, enjoy to the utmost the wonderful hours each of us has left. Place no faith in time … for our clock of life may soon be still.”

    James Visentine
    NASA Class of 1964

    James Visentine
  5. So sorry to hear that Tom passed away. He nitiated the contract to bring we four Bendix satellite tracking station design and implementation engineers to then-MSC in 1964 for a six-month “temporary” task of implementing and integrating all of the hardware that would comprise the then-Electronic Systems Compatibility Facility first assembled in Bldg. 420. It would later become the ESTL IN Bldg. 44. My portion of that job would evolve to becoming the configuration control group lead for the Lab that kept me there for 50 years and continues today beyond my retirement. I had several times thanked him for not offering us a “permanent” job as there’s no telling how long we might have hung around!

    Tom was instrumental in getting the group firmly running upon arrival so that we could help meet NASA’s ambitious test schedule of supporting the Apollo launches.
    He was a mentor and friend. His support was a significant factor in the Lab’s ability to function efficiently for decades providing the several Program’s with accurate and useful test and development data. Rest In prace, my friend, you earned it!

    John Ross
  6. When I hired into NASA in 1988, Tom was one of the first folks that stepped up and helped me “learn the ropes”. Always a gentleman, always witty and never had bad days. I am to this day, grateful for his insight and help.

    Tom is a parishioner at St. Bernadette’s Catholic church. After mass, where we often crossed paths, it was always a 15 minute conversation about something. His humor and wit never failed to make him a joy to see. His smile and wry wit will be missed.

    God Bless you, Tom! We will miss you!

    Tom Diegelman
  7. Barbara – Our deepest sympathy for yours and your family’s loss. I have many fond memories of working closely with Tom to create the Electronic Systems Test Laboratory and transition it into a facility that proved to be a true asset for the Johnson Space Center supporting the Apollo, Apollo-Soyuz, Shuttle and ISS Programs.

    Don Travis
  8. Barbara and children,
    We send our deepest sympathy to you. Tom was “Hank’s” roommate when we met 55 years ago. Staying in touch is a skill that Tom mastered. Thanks for all the Easter and Christmas remembrances. He strengthened my Catholic faith. Our last dinner together at Acme’s Oyster Bar was a delight.
    Our prayers, Arleen and Henry

    Henry and Arleen Friloux
  9. Tom was such a fine man. My husband, Carl Stroud, was in his section for years. Carl referenced him as “Ohnesorge” while others said “Tom O.” We always welcomed Tom’s e-mails after Carl retired. He kept the wires hot with great witticisms. My favorite story re Tom reflected the fact that he got to the point that travel wasn’t enjoyable—“Alvin is too far.” At some point he was approached by NASA management for perhaps a transfer to the Northeast: “You mean Beaumont?”

    My condolences and sympathy to all in “Ohnesorge’s” family. I hope he and Carl are now solving mysteries and catching up on past times in Bldg. 30. The thin gray line, as I named them, is getting smaller and smaller.

    Glenda Stroud
  10. To Barbara and Family,
    Had the opportunity to work along side Tom in the early 90’s as his secretary. I received word last year that he had been sick; and now today, I have receive a word that none of us cares to hear. Want to take the time to share this with you and your family. The sweetest name I know is Jesus. I offer Him to you in this time of sorrow. Though hard it may be, I encourage you to remember what the apostle Paul tells us by way of Scripture. 1 Thessalonians 4:13 “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.” There is no sorrow on Earth that Heaven cannot heal. Be Blessed!

    Wanda R. Bryant (Lee)
  11. Sorry to hear about Tom. Tom hired me in June of 1963. We worked on the plans for developing the ESTL. I visited Tom about a year ago and we talked about the good old days. I will miss his smile and humor.

    Melvin Kapell
  12. So sorry to learn of Tom’s passing. I met Tom in 1959 at Langley primarily to pick his brain in regards to his research paper on PCM telemetry. After his transfer to Houston, I interfaced regularly with Tom on his involvement with the Network compatibility work. I always enjoyed meeting at his house on my regular commutes to Houston with Garland Hector to sample his draft beer. As all have stated, he was a dedicated NASA engineer and a friend to all.
    We both emailed regularly in regards to our past NASA work, colleagues and shared many political and humorous jokes. We took no prisoners with our emails.
    God’s speed Tom.
    Danny Dalton Goddard Space Flight Center

    Danny Dalton
  13. Barbara and Family,
    I was reading my email from an account that I don’t monitor very often and was shocked to hear of Tom’s passing. Tom was one of my closest friends beginning in the mid 60’s. We worked together in the ESTL for many years. Tom loved to meet with his NASA friends at a party. He missed a couple of Dianne’s Christmas parties but I learned from Mel Kapell later that he was in a nursing home. We will miss Tom’s cheerful personality and positive attitude.

    Oron Schmidt

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