Willard James Green Sr., an internationally renowned rocket builder who was a top aerospace engineer at Aerojet for 28 years, died Oct. 29 of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in Dade City, Fla., his family said. He was 78.
Mr. Green managed Aerojet's Delta rocket program, which became the leading U.S. system for launching communications and scientific satellites into space. In 1965, he designed a second-stage propulsion engine still used on Delta II rockets.
During the 1980s, he helped develop rockets for the Japanese space program and worked on efforts to create a next-generation U.S. space shuttle. He received the NASA Public Service Award in 1976 and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Award in 1968.
Born in 1933 in Mus- kegon, Mich., Mr. Green graduated from the University of Michigan. He joined Aerojet in 1962 and lived in Orangevale and Pollock Pines. For the last 20 years, he split his time between homes in Fremont, Mich., and Dade City, Fla.
Survivors include his wife, Catherine Ashley; sons, Willard Jr., David and Doug; daughters Toya Wilkenson, Della Wilson, Julie Sloat, Donna Nicely and Norah Cooper; brother, Clyde; sisters, Margaret Bowen and Delores Malo; 17 grandchildren; and numerous great-grandchildren.
No service is planned.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation at www.pulmonaryfibrosis.org/ donate.
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