Dr. Leslie ‘Les’ Hugh Meredith, 87, former head of NASA’s Space Sciences Division

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Dr. Leslie "Les" Hugh Meredith
Dr. Leslie ‘Les’ Hugh Meredith

Dr. Leslie “Les” Hugh Meredith died peacefully at New Hanover Regional Medical Center on Wednesday, July 15, 2015, at the age of 87.

He was born on Oct. 23, 1927, in Birmingham, England, to Dr. Howard Voas and Mrs. Matilda Meredith. In 1948 he married Marilyn Church and together they raised three children in Silver Spring, Maryland. Marilyn passed away unexpectedly in 2008 while they were together seeing the world on one of their many adventures.

Les was an accomplished physicist who received his Ph.D at the University of Iowa in 1954 under the notable Dr. Van Allen. His research and rocket development in the early 1950s led him to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, where he headed the Space Sciences Division, primarily focusing on the study of cosmic rays and solar astronomy.

He continued his work at NASA for nearly 30 years, participating in numerous satellite launches and space science projects as the industry evolved. Following his career at NASA, he joined the American Geophysical Union as the first director of research programs in 1987.

While he had many professional accomplishments, Les was most proud of his children and the summer beach home he, his father and his son built in South Carolina in the 1970s. This home would serve as the location for an annual family reunion, “Beach Week,” that has occurred consistently for over 40 years. He leaves his loving family with the hopes that they will continue the legacy started by his parents over 50 years ago.

In addition to his parents, Les was preceded in death by his sister, Mavis Stewart, and by his wife, Marilyn.

Les is survived by his children, Martha (Paul) Tabor, Laura (Tex) Peterson and Les (Nancy) Meredith; grandchildren, Ben (Kellie) Tabor, Kate Tabor (Noah Sorscher), Megan Tabor, Andrea Peterson, Elaine (Morgan) Lamarre, Erik (Lindsay) Peterson, Greg (Samantha) Meredith, Lauren (Kevin) Byrne and Julie (Joe) Albrecht; and great-grandchildren, Lily Tabor, Max and Alex Meredith, Natalie and Claire Byrne, Owen and Ingrid Albrecht and Eleanor Lamarre. He cherished his grandchildren and gave each special memories of personal trips to England.

The family will gather in South Carolina at the beach over Labor Day week in remembrance of his life and a graveside service will be held in Lamoni, Iowa, at a later date.

Memorials can be made to Trinity Grove – Memory Care Unit, 631 Junction Creek Drive, Wilmington, NC 28412. The family has great appreciation for the personal love and care Les received from staff while living there. He shared his love of music, gentle smile and clever wit easily with all. Indeed, a life well-lived!

Please leave online condolences for the family at Andrews Mortuary.

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