The last Mercury astronaut dies


Betty Grissom with the “other six” Mercury astronauts

It’s as if the last of Mercury astronauts died.  Betty Grissom, 91, widow of Gus Grissom, died on October 6.  She was as tough and gritty as gruff Gus, and more controversial, especially when she sued North American Rockwell, the maker of the Apollo capsule in which Gus died in 1967.

I remember her most as fiercely vigilant in keeping his memory and spirit alive, standing in his place at reunions of the Mercury astronauts.  Through her, Gus was present.   After Gus, Deke Slayton was the first to die, in 1993.  In 2016, John Glenn, the oldest of the Original Seven, became the last to die.  That is, until Betty Grissom.

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