Virginians, West Virginians, NASA remember Katherine Johnson, a barrier-breaking NASA mathematician

West Virginia

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Virginians mourn and remember the pioneering NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson whose life became known to the public with the help of the 2016 movie “Hidden Figures.” She died Feb. 24, 2020 at 101 years old.

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said he is “deeply saddened to hear of her passing.”

“Katherine Johnson helped realize one of humankind’s oldest dreams—to reach the stars. Hidden no longer, she will be remembered for her contributions to math and science and forever stand as a role model for those whose talents are not fully recognized because of prejudice. I am deeply saddened to hear of her passing, and my condolences go out to her family, my fellow Virginians, the NASA community, and everyone else who held her as a hero.”

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.)

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said he was glad Johnson lived to see the recognition for her and her colleagues featured in “Hidden Figures.”

The NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia — where Johnson worked for over three decades — said: “we will carry forward her legacy.”

“Her life will inspire Americans for generations to come,” said NASA Langley Research Center Director Clayton P. Turner.

“We are saddened to learn of the passing of Katherine G. Johnson, a woman whose service to NASA and our nation will not be forgotten. Her strength of character, bravery and mastery of mathematics helped America push beyond inequality to accomplish what some thought impossible. 

Her life will inspire Americans for generations to come. 

Here at NASA’s Langley Research Center, where Johnson worked for some 33 years, we will carry forward her legacy. Katherine Johnson believed in equality. She overcame obstacles to achieve great things and make life better for others. 

Her example continues to guide us as we push the boundaries of human exploration, forward to the Moon and on to Mars.”

Clayton P. Turner, Director, NASA’s Langley Research Center

NASA’s remembrance of Johnson included a short video highlighting her contribution to the Space Shuttle program.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said Johnson, a West Virginia native, “showed the world what West Virginians are capable of.”

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said: “more young women have – and will – blaze their own trails because of Johnson’s accomplishments.”

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) said Johnson’s “work on earth sent men on the moon.”


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