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Wilber Huston '33

NASA Physicist Rarely Missed Reunions

Wilber B. Huston, 93, who died May 25, was touched early by fame, then became a notable space scientist just as the field was emerging. Huston’s entrance to MIT was celebrated nationally. As a 16-year-old Seattle boy, he won a scholarship contest judged by Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Charles Lindbergh. The prize was four years at MIT, paid for by Edison. After earning an SB in physics, he worked for Edison’s son and taught celestial navigation to U.S. Army Air Force bomber crews. Then he began a 32-year career with the aeronautics agency that grew into NASA. He became a mission director at the Goddard Space Flight Center, where his team launched the Nimbus meteorological satellites. In 1974, he retired from his government job; he worked as a private consultant until 1988. Huston and his wife, Dot, with whom he had six children, then moved to Florida, where she died in 1996. In his 80s, he embarked on world travels, including stops in Africa and Antarctica. Huston, who faithfully attended Cardinal and Gray reunions, had planned to return to campus this past June before his health failed. But his daughter says that part of him will remain at the Institute: he donated some of his brain to MIT for research.

Wilber Huston, ‘33

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