OBITUARY: Former Space Shuttle Program Engineer James Fred Wiltse Passes Away at 74
By Space Coast Daily // August 30, 2022
was a member of the recovery Columbia team, traveled to California for its flight back to KSC
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – On Saturday, August 20, James Fred Wiltse, a beloved brother and uncle, passed away. He was 74. Born to George and Jane Wiltse, in Syracuse, New York, on December 21, 1947.
Jim attended Lake Weir High School in Florida. At Lake Weir, Jim was a consistent honor student and earned a letter in track. He was a member of the Key Club and Beta Club. Jim also achieved the Eagle Scout Designation, the highest award available to youth members of the Boy Scouts of America.
Upon graduation from high school, Jim received a scholarship to the University of Tampa. He earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration from the University of Florida and a second B.S. degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Central Florida.
He began his career working in civil engineering but soon changed to his dream career in aerospace. He worked for multiple companies, including Martin Marietta and United Launch Alliance. He worked most of his career with the Space Shuttle program, specifically the Shuttle Columbia.
He was a member of the recovery team and traveled to California, preparing Columbia for its flight back to Kennedy Space Center. Jim’s civil engineering skills were of great use for the construction of many structures required at the launch facility.
He was known as a creative innovator and earned many accolades during his years of dedicated employment. He was a car aficionado, painstakingly rebuilding cars of all types. Jim was a brilliant, kind and generous man. Jim is survived by his siblings Georganne Wiltse of Morriston, Florida, Marcia Wiltse Vener of Avila Beach, California, Philip Wiltse of Morriston, Florida and Don Wiltse of Sebring, Florida.
Jim’s family has chosen to honor him by spreading his ashes at sea near Kennedy Space Center, a place that was dear to his heart.