Decorative Utah astronaut Don Lind dies at 92

Estimated reading time: 4-5 minutes

LOGAN — After 15 years flying the space shuttle Challenger, Don Lind walked through the gates of Jordan High School in 2000 and returned a banner of a vegetable digger that flew through space to his alma mater.

“You can’t even imagine the exciting things that are going to happen in your life,” Lind told a gym packed with Jordan High students after becoming the recipient of the inaugural Beetdigger Harvest Award, which honors the school’s outstanding alumni each year .

He also speaks from experience, as his life is full of excitement and rich achievements.

The astronaut, physicist, fighter pilot and educator died Tuesday in Logan surrounded by many of his children and grandchildren. He is 92 years old.

Don Leslie Lind, a Smithfield native, left a legacy that stretched from the hive state to space after living his life as a “true Renaissance man.”

Throughout his life, Linde embodied Leonardo da Vinci’s ideal of doing everything well.

His journey began with education, where he became a brilliant physicist, earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah and a Ph.D. in high-energy nuclear physics from the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory at UC Berkeley.

He was also a soldier, serving as a naval officer and fighter jet pilot, rising to commander of the U.S. Navy. He got his wings in 1957 and went on to record more than 4,500 flight hours, according to his NASA biography.

In addition to his military achievements, Lind was commissioned as an astronaut in 1966 and quickly became a brilliant scientist and astronaut – he studied planetary magnetophysics, auroras and the solar wind – and he helped design Apollo 11 Science Package and EVA (activities performed by astronauts in spacesuits outside of spacecraft in Earth orbit) and served as CAPCOM for the Apollo 11 and Apollo 12 missions, the first two manned missions to the moon .

According to NASA, CAPCOM, “short for Capsule Communication, is an astronaut on Earth who communicates with the crew in a spacecraft”.

Lind has since been assigned as a backup pilot for the Skylab 3 and Skylab 4 missions, and will fly on the Skylab Rescue if such a rescue mission is required for the first US space station. In 1985, Lind flew as an astronaut aboard the space shuttle Challenger on the Spacelab 3 mission, a seven-day, 110-orbit mission designed to conduct extensive scientific research in the microgravity space environment.

Astronaut Don L. Lind was born in Midvale and graduated from the University of Utah. He flew on the space shuttle Challenger in 1985. Lind died Tuesday night in Logan, surrounded by many of his children and grandchildren. He is 92 years old. A native of Smithfield, Lind has left a legacy in his life that stretches from the hive state to space.
Astronaut Don L. Lind was born in Midvale and graduated from the University of Utah. He flew on the space shuttle Challenger in 1985. Lind died Tuesday night in Logan, surrounded by many of his children and grandchildren. He is 92 years old. Lind, a Smithfield native, left a legacy that stretched from the hive state to space after living his life as a “true Renaissance man.” (Photo: NASA)

“He was an accomplished pianist and painter, and his children remember many times singing around the piano while Dad played. One of his favorite paintings, 3/10 Seconds, hangs at the Church History Museum Several years in Salt Lake City,” his obituary said.

Perhaps most impressively, Linde was an extraordinary father and husband who loved his family very much.

His obituary stated that he “taught his children how to cherish and respect female identity as he expressed his love for his sweet wife Katherine in his daily life together.”

He raised his children with the mantra “The sky is not the limit; we can do whatever we want.”

After retiring from NASA, Lind joined the physics department at Utah State University, where he was known as an “excellent teacher and caring student deeply,” his obituary said.

Linde’s scientific abilities and passion for teaching undoubtedly impressed his family, with his 11 children, son-in-law and grandson all following in his footsteps as teachers, nearly half of whom became science or physics teachers.

Throughout his life, Lind and his wife Catherine were faithful members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

As a young man, Lind served as a missionary in the church’s New England Mission. He and his wife served as public affairs missionaries for the Church in Western Europe, as temple missionaries in the Nauvoo Illinois Temple, and as counselors and assistant housewives in the Portland, Oregon Temple, respectively, and in Utah. The Temple of Logan served as a sealer for many years.

A funeral will be held at Smithfield 17th Ward Chapel, 340 E. 300 South, Smithfield, on Saturday, September 10, at 11:00 a.m. Viewings will be held from 9:00 am to 10:30 am on the day of the service and from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm the night before, also at the Smithfield 17th Ward Church.

The service will be live here.

Related Links

Recent Utah Stories

Logan Stefanich is a reporter for KSL.com, covering community, education, business and military news in southern Utah.

More stories you might be interested in

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.