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Frederick I. Ordway III – Obituary

By  | July 1, 2014 | Filed under: Laughlin Service Funeral Home, Obituaries

Frederick I. Ordway III, 87, of Huntsville, passed away Tuesday. He was predeceased by his wife, Maria Victoria Ordway.

Born in New York City and raised in Maine, Fred Ordway was educated in geosciences at Harvard University and did graduate work at the Sorbonne and other institutions abroad. Among his first positions out of school was with a mining company and later became an early employee of Reaction Motors, Inc. (RMI) of New Jersey, a pioneering American liquid propellant rocket. Ordway later moved on to Republic Aviation, Inc. in Farmingdale, NY. Through a meeting with his good friend Arthur C. Clarke, the noted science fiction author, Ordway was contacted by film director Stanley Kubrick and spent three years working as Kubrick’s technical advisor on the landmark film 2001: A Space Odyssey. After completing his efforts on the film, Ordway was a professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and shortly after became a special assistant to Robert Seamans, the first Director of the Energy Research and Development Agency, now called the Department of Energy (DOE). Fred had a long career at DOE but continued with his lifelong interest in the field of rocketry and space travel. Ordway had written numerous books on space travel, some with Wernher von Braun, and also published over 350 articles.

Survivors include sons, Frederick I. Ordway IV and Albert James Ordway, both of Huntsville; daughter, Marisol O. Lambert of Powhatan, VA; and five grandchildren.

A private family service will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to The American Cancer Society or to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center Foundation, 1 Tranquility Base, Huntsville, AL 35805. 

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