Met with astronauts Armstrong, Collins and Aldrin immediately after historic landing on Moon
BREVARD COUNTY • INDIALANTIC, FLORIDA – Cecil Thomas Deans, Jr., loving husband, father and grandfather, passed away peacefully on June 29, 2018.
He leaves behind his wife of 61 years Judith Hunnicutt Deans; children, Thomas Warren Deans (Becky), Daniel Benjamin Deans (Lisabeth) and Kathleen Cassie Deans (Eric); grandchildren, Daniel Christopher Deans, Cassie Deans-Patterson (Eric), Sarah Lisabeth Deans (Michael) and Charles Thomas Deans; great-grandson Jun Stephen Wren.
Cecil Deans, born August 27, 1930, in Raleigh, North Carolina, was the child of Cecil Thomas Deans, Sr., and Frances Mae Old Deans, and brother of Rosa Deans Kirby. In his youth, he was called “Sonny” by family and friends. He graduated from Hugh Morson HS in 1948.
Cecil served in the United States Navy from 1951 – 1955 during this time he was stationed at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific. There he witnessed over a dozen nuclear test explosions, including the first detonation of a thermonuclear weapon (“hydrogen bomb”).
Honorably discharged from the Navy he married Judith Frances Hunnicutt on November 2, 1956, while attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he graduated with a BS in Economics, and minored in English, in 1959.
Cecil worked for RCA as a Proposal Production Coordinator in Virginia, New Jersey and Florida before beginning his lifelong career at NASA in Cape Canaveral, in 1965. He moved his young family to Brevard County and purchased a home in Indialantic.
At NASA Cecil was engaged in mission budgeting and participated in the Gemini and Apollo programs, and was chosen by NASA to fly to Houston to meet astronauts Armstrong, Collins and Aldrin immediately after their historic landing on the Moon.
He continued work with the Skylab and Apollo-Soyuz missions before transitioning to unmanned space missions Viking and Voyager. He transferred back to manned space missions with the Space Shuttle program, finishing his service as Program Analysis Officer for the Payload Management and Operations Directorate when he retired in 1994.
Cecil was an avid sports enthusiast and a lifelong Tar Heels fan. He enjoyed excellent health his entire life, and as a young adult, he was active in quail hunting in North Carolina and surf fishing at the beach near his home.
Powerfully independent, he felt that anything was possible for someone who can read and personified this belief when repairing his cars, home, or any project that required specialized knowledge.
He unselfishly supported his family throughout his life with love and care. His favorite saying was “This too shall pass.” He will be sadly missed by his family who are deeply mourned by his loss, and whose love for Cecil shall never pass.
Cecil will be laid to rest at Cape Canaveral National Cemetery with military honors at a later date.
Arrangements are by Ammen Family Cremation and Funeral Care, Melbourne, Florida: 724-2222. Condolences are at afcfcare.com
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