Perth valedictorian memorialized on the moon

According to his family, the name of the class of 1938 valedictorian at Perth High School is inscrib

According to his family, the name of the class of 1938 valedictorian at Perth High School is inscribed on a plaque left on the Moon.

Stanley J. Jevitt, Sr., was born in Avoca, Pa., the son of Antoni and Julia Dziewit. The spelling later was changed to Jevitt. Stanley was the sixth of eight children.

Antoni and Julia were Polish immigrants who originally settled in Amsterdam. They moved to Pennsylvania where they had a farm and where Antoni worked in the mines. A doctor told Antoni he had early stages of black lung disease and advised him to stop mining. The family relocated to Perth, buying a farm on McQueen Road.

After high school, where he was also class president, Stanley Jevitt earned a degree in aeronautical engineering at the University of Alabama. He was the first of his siblings to go to college; Perth school superintendent John Paris said if his parents couldn’t afford college, he would see to it that Stanley’s bill was paid. One of Jevitt’s college classmates was future Alabama governor George Wallace.

Jevitt learned to fly while in college, graduated in 1942 and enlisted in the U.S. Navy. Stationed in Alameda, Calif., he was crew chief on the Martin Mars flying boat, a huge seaplane that flew supplies between California and Honolulu.

After the war Jevitt worked at Schenectady General Electric on development and testing of jet engines. He also operated Sacandaga Sea Plane in Mayfield. He gave flying lessons and transported customers by seaplane on fishing and scenic trips. Jevitt taught his wife Dorothy, an Indianapolis native, several of their six children and three of his brothers to fly.

In February 1948 Jevitt survived an airplane accident on snow covered Mayfield Lake. According to the Leader Republican, Jevitt was landing on what he believed was a couple inches of snow on top of the frozen lake. However there was actually 16 to 18 inches of snow cover. The plane nosedived and turned over on landing. No one was injured but volunteers worked for hours turning the plane upright and towing it off the lake using toboggans.

Jevitt left GE and worked for other aeronautical companies: Bell Aircraft, Lockheed and Martin Marietta. He joined NASA in 1966 at Cape Canaveral in Florida. In a news release in May 1969, NASA reported that Jevitt was playing a key role in the launch of Apollo 10 that month.

His niece Frances Luzinas said Jevitt was included on a list of engineers whose names were inscribed on a plaque left on the moon, most likely during Apollo 11 in July 1969. The family has a picture of the names on the plaque.

NASA’s public information office said it does not have information on official plaques left on the Moon with Apollo employee names on them. However, NASA said there were unsanctioned actions by employees and contractors that were not formally documented. The NASA statement continued, “Unfortunately, we have no way of confirming whether or not Mr. Jevitt’s name was on an unofficial list/plaque.”

In later years, Jevitt was assistant to the chief engineer on the Space Shuttle and contributed to development of the shuttle’s rocket booster.

He died at age 77 on April 18, 1998 at Cape Canaveral Hospital in Cocoa Beach, Fla. and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Amsterdam’s Rocket Man

Petrone Square, the corner of Church and Main streets in Amsterdam, is named in honor of Rocco Petrone. Petrone was born in Amsterdam in 1926, the son of Italian immigrants. He was launch director and what the New York Times called a “driving force” in the Apollo moon program. He died in 2006.

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