Carroll County Times

Former astronaut speaks at club's spring luncheon

A former astronaut was guest speaker at the spring luncheon of the General Federation of Women's Clubs, Woman's Club of Westminster, held May 14 in the Krug Chapel/Auditorium of Carroll Lutheran Village.

Clubwoman Barbara Gunther introduced the speaker, Dr. Mary L. Cleave, who was called "A Maryland Woman Who Soars" in a June 6, 2012 article in The Maryland Women's Journal. The article, by Jill Moss Greenberg, describes Cleave as an accomplished woman who achieved her goals in spite of dealing with many obstacles and biases and referred to her, among many superlatives, as an American heroine and an extraordinary role model.

Gunther said she felt Cleave embodies the club's motto for the 2012-2014 term: "Uniting Our Voice for Leadership and Equality."

Cleave is an environmental engineer who retired from NASA in 2007 as the associate administrator for science.

Cleave flew on the space shuttle Atlantis as a mission specialist. She was the flight engineer and operated the robot arm on the space shuttle in 1985 and deployed the Magellan spacecraft from the shuttle in 1989. Magellan went on to study Venus. She then served NASA in a range of capacities, including capsule communicator for five shuttle flights. She joined NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt in 1991 and was a project manager responsible for launching a spacecraft in 1997, which operated for 13 years and helped increase understanding of climate change, oceanography and atmospheric science.

Cleave showed a space mission presentation at the luncheon. She described her fellow astronauts on the mission as being like her brothers, and talked about her flight in detail and with humor.

After an audience question and answer session with Cleave, Dolly Snyder, club chairman of the committee to benefit the installation of Babs Condon as president of the international GFWC, asked Cleave to draw the winning raffle ticket for a week at Deep Creek Lake. The winning ticket was held by clubwoman Sue Case.

The luncheon gathering had opened with Suzanne Albert, club president, welcoming members and guests, followed by Lynda Lockard giving the invocation. Club Vice President Nancy James announced the names of the clubwomen who submitted art entries at the GFWC state convention. They were: Rosemary Barnes; Mary Lou Poirier; Claire Berent, who won first place in watercolor; Jo Ann Barlow, who won an honorable mention for her pastel; and Ginny Houser, who won second and third places for her photography.

The GFWC is an international organization whose mission is to enhance the lives of others through volunteer service. For more information, contact Mary Lou Poirier at