SKURLA, GEORGE Appolo Space Program

 

George Skurla, 80, a retired Grumman Corporation president known for his leadership during the heady days when the company's lunar module landed on the moon, died September 2, 2001 at a hospital in Melbourne, Florida. He had pneumonia. Grumman's lunar modules shuttled Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin from Apollo 11 toward the "giant leap for mankind" in 1969 and, a year later, returned the crew of Apollo 13 to Earth when their main spacecraft became disabled. As director of operations at Kennedy Space Center in Florida in the late 60ís, Mr. Skurla managed 1,600 employees responsible for assembling and testing the lunar modules from parts made at Grumman headquarters in Bethpage, N.Y. He began his 42-year career at Grumman in 1944 as an apprentice engineer and was named company president in 1985. Grumman has since become part of Los Angeles-based Northrop-Grumman. George Skurla was a Croatian-American whose parents were from Herzegovina.He died on September 2.As head of Grumman, he was one of the key men behind the Appolo program.