Walter (Walt) Gaylor

Walter (Walt) Gaylor passed away July 6, 2022, twenty-five days shy of his 94th birthday while at home with family in Taylor Lake Village, Texas.

Walt was born in Brooklyn, New York on July 31, 1928 to parents George and Edna Gaylor. He lived with his family in the same, close-knit Greenspoint neighborhood from birth until graduation from Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (now NYU Tandon School of Engineering), in 1953 with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. Before attending Polytechnic Institute, he studied at New York Maritime College and participated in training cruises with the Merchant Marines. During this time, he met the love of his life, Margaret (Marge), who he met at a dance sponsored by the nursing school she attended. They married in June 1953 in New York City and he remained a devoted husband to her, never wavering in his care and affection even as she suffered from advanced Alzheimer’s disease. Just four weeks before his death and in declining health, he traveled to her nursing home facility to spend their sixty-ninth wedding anniversary together.

Walt began his engineering career in 1953 working for Curtis Wright Corporation and Thiokol Chemical Corporation. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) hired him in 1963.

He started as a Resident Engineer assigned to NASA’s Apollo program and quickly became the Chief Engineer of the Lunar Excursion Module (LM) project at the Resident Apollo Spacecraft Program Office (RASPO) in Bethpage, New York. In this capacity, he was responsible for ensuring that Grumman met all of NASA’s requirements in developing the LM – the vehicle that landed on the moon. Despite long hours demanded by the Apollo program, Walt obtained his M.S.E. from Long Island University in 1967. In 1969 he became manager of RASPO in the final years of the Apollo program. With RASPO’s ending, he transferred to Texas in 1973 and assumed the position of Systems Integration Manager in the Space Shuttle Program Office at Johnson Space Center. He later worked in the Mission Operation Directorate to upgrade the Mission Control Center before retiring from NASA in 1998. After 36 years at NASA, he continued to work as a consulting engineer until 2006.

In 2006 when he reflected on the time he dedicated to the Apollo project, he said: “It was the highlight of my life…It was something we needed to do. It was a commitment to the whole Country”. His commitment to his work never detracted from his devotion to his family.

While NASA bestowed many superior achievement awards on him, his main goal in life was always to ensure his family had everything they needed. This is where he truly excelled. His generosity of spirit towards family as well as friends was boundless, regardless of whether he was sharing his resources, his time, or his wisdom. He embraced life and included all his children in his favorite sport – skiing, an activity he participated in until age 78. One of his favorite t-shirts said, “You don’t stop skiing because you are old, you get old because you stop skiing”.

He was a faithful member of St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church in Nassau Bay, and lived independently and fully until his kidneys failed him the last few months of his life. Walt is survived by his wife Margaret, daughters Carol Oeller and Alice Kilgo (Steve O’Brien), sons Stephen (Camille), Douglas (Laura), and Walter Jr., grandson Dylan, and step-grandchildren Jason and Madison. He is preceded in death by his parents and brother George and stepfather Ed Jenkins. Our hearts will remain forever full of love and gratitude for the life he provided us.

Two services will be held September 23, 2022. At 9:00 a.m. the family will gather at the Mission Control Center at Johnson Space Center for a flag ceremony. If you are not a retired or current badged-employee of NASA and would like to attend, please let a family member know so that your name can be submitted for pre-clearance to the NASA grounds.

At 2:00 p.m. there will be a service at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church in Nassau Bay with a small reception at the Church following the service. The address is 18223 Point Lookout Dr, Houston, TX 77058.


  1. To the Gaylor Family,

    My sincerest condolences for the loss of your husband, father, and grandfather. Walt was such a kind-hearted man. I have such fond memories of ski trips when he joined us and spending several Christmas Eve’s at his house (eating too many homemade Christmas goodies)! He will be missed by so many.

    So sorry that I will not be able to attend the services, but please know that I am thinking about you all.


    Gina Curet
  2. My condolences to your family on Walt’s passing. He was a faithful member of the caregivers support group that I led for many years. His devotion to his wife was amazing and the way he faced his daily problems caring for her with such good humor helped all of us to laugh at our similar circumstances. He was a joy to know.
    Corinne Poel

    Corinne Poel
    • Thank you. I do believe the support groups were a lifeline for him.

      Carol Gaylor Oeller

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