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'Grandpa's NASA stuff' on display at Ellis library

10/12/2012

By JUDY SHERARD

By JUDY SHERARD

jsherard@dailynews.net

ELLIS -- A space exploration exhibit at Ellis Public Library is personal for some residents.

The exhibit includes articles that belonged to April Pfeifer's maternal grandfather, Roy "Bud" Dewing.

Dewing, originally from Wichita, worked in the quality assurance department at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in Houston from 1964 until he moved to New Mexico in 1969.

Pfeifer grew up in Great Bend and remembers visiting her grandfather in Albuquerque for two weeks in the summer.

"He had a wall where he hung his pictures, certificates and awards. To me, that was just Grandpa's NASA stuff," she said.

Some of his awards and medals struck from metal that made a moon trip are on display in the library until mid-November.

Besides his stint at NASA, Dewing also worked as a convoy commander for the Atomic Energy Commission delivering top secret documents.

"He led a pretty interesting life," Pfeifer said.

Pfeifer is a sixth-grade teacher at St. Mary Catholic School. Last year, her 10 students completed research projects for the space unit.

Their projects are included in the library exhibit. The students and their parents were invited to an opening reception Monday.

A visit to the Cosmosphere at the end of the year put their research projects in perspective.

"When she took the kids down to the Cosmosphere after they researched this, they could make a connection," said Steve Arthur, the library director.

The exhibit was his idea after he learned Pfeifer's grandfather had worked at NASA.

"I want people to understand that history does not occur in a vacuum. That there's a progression. ... I want people to learn about their own national history, and secondly, I want people to learn about the diversity that's in a little town like Ellis and how many really cool connections there are."

Arthur also brought in items from the Walter P. Chrysler Boyhood Home & Museum for the exhibit.

"Chrysler developed most of the early rockets used in the space program," he said. "The Chrysler museum houses a considerable amount of the space history for the space division."

A binder outlining procedures and a launch manual is one of the items on loan for the display.

"This manual starts 90 days before lift-off (and has a) countdown by days, hours and the final seconds. ... This is the real deal. They used this at Cape Canaveral," Arthur said.

The library, 907 Washington, is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.