Jack Kummerfeld, 52, passed away peacefully at his home in Cocoa, Fla. on Oct. 19, 2004 after battling a malignant brain tumor for two years. He was buried with full military honors at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Jack was born in Los Angeles, where he spent his youth until he entered the USAF Academy and graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Military Science.
After Jack graduated, he attended and graduated from helicopter Undergraduate Pilot Training at Fort Rucker, Ala. And went to 1st Helicopter Squadron at Andrews AFB in Maryland, supporting VIPs at the Pentagon. In 1981, he was again chosen by name to join the initial cadre at the U.S. Mission Control Center in support of the International Search and Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking (SARSAT) program.
In 1985, Major Kummerfeld went back to Korea to fly Special Operations helicopters, and became the standardization and Evaluation pilot before he left. In 1987, he arrived at Patrick AFB in Florida. In January of 1988, he was once again personally selected to join the Office of the department of Defense Manager for STS Contingency Support Operations. It was during that time that Jack earned a Master’s degree in Aeronautical Science from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla.
Jack coordinated with the U.S. transportation Command to advise a plan to interface up to 87 sorties providing personnel and equipment for both orbiter turnaround and bare base support; thereby streamlining Space Shuttle contingency operations. Jack’s most cherished award is the Astronauts’ Personal Achievement (Silver Snoopy) Award. It is NASA’s highest honor bestowed on individuals who have performed an outstanding effort contributing to the success of manned space flight missions.
Following his 20 years’ retirement from the Air Force in 1995, he was a Program Manager in Sverdrup at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. He had most recently worked as a Systems Engineer at Tybrin Corporation, a high-technology corporation specializing in providing systems and software engineering services to the Department of Defense, NASA, and other federal and state government organizations. He had also been taking courses at the Florida Institute of Technology to obtain a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Science Education.
Though Jack was dedicated to his work, his undying devotion belonged to his wife of 28 years, Sun, whom he met and married in Korea in 1976. They had a son, Benjamin, in March 1984; who is now in college, majoring in Computer Engineering. Jack shared more than his vast mathematical knowledge and love of music with Ben; he gave him an example of what it is to be a true Christian. He was always extending a helping hand and a caring heart to anyone in need.
Before Jack died, he told me that the only regret he had was that he had not spread the word of Jesus Christ, Our Lord, more during his lifetime. Well, I am writing this to say that he certainly DID speak of our Lord to me a lot! I only knew Jack for a very short four years, through our workplace. But, he always spoke to me, whenever he could, about God. I will never forget the day that he quietly held me in his arms as we both wept great tears of joy. It was the very moment that I had accepted Jesus Christ back into my life! Even during his illness, there were times that he was so weak that he could barely speak, but he would always say “God Bless you” or “God is Great!” his family and friends know, beyond any shadow of doubt, that he was truly a devout Christian; and I will be eternally grateful to him.
In loving memory, Jack’s sister in Christ, Poucette French Duggan | October 2004