Charles Thornton Hollinshead, age 89, of Candler, NC, passed away on Monday, January 25, 2021 at North Carolina State Veterans Home in Black Mountain, NC.
Mr. Hollinshead was born on September 4, 1931 in Danville, PA to the late Byron Hollinshead, Sr. and Clara Stevens Hollinshead.
Charles spent his formative years growing up on the campus of Keystone College in Laplume PA. He attended boarding school at Lake Forest Academy in Lake Forest Illinois.
He graduated from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Charles served his country proudly as a pilot in the United States Navy. He began a lifelong love of photography there, serving as a flight wing photographer.
After his discharge he became a writer and editor for the Martin Company's Orlando, Fla., division and in 1963, went to work for a NASA contractor writing press and public relations material on the space program.
In 1964, he joined NASA and held a variety of positions in Public Affairs ranging from writer and spokesman to the chief of the Public Information Office. Hollinshead was manager of the news center for Apollo 11, the first flight to land people on the moon, and served as the "voice of launch control" for several Apollo missions and numerous unmanned launches.
In 1975, he was appointed director of Public Affairs. He served on the center director's policy staff advising him on all matters concerning the center and directed the public affairs operations which included media relations, protocol and guest operations, and an educational outreach program aimed at bringing science information into the elementary and high schools. Additionally, he was responsible for the content and operation of the visitor center which hosted approximately two million visitors per year, for accommodating as many as two thousand media representatives at special events, and for all day-to-day public relations and community relations activities associated with Kennedy.
During his NASA career, Hollinshead earned a number of awards, including NASA's Outstanding Leadership Medal in 1986 for his role in helping NASA regain public confidence following the Challenger accident. He was awarded four Exceptional Service Medals for directing Public Affairs efforts associated with the Apollo-Soyuz mission, the Bicentennial Exposition on Science and Technology, the first flight of the space shuttle and the return to flight following the loss of the space shuttle orbiter Challenger.
Through the years and after retirement, Hollinshead served in a number of advisory positions including Executive Director of the United States Space Camp Advisory Council, advisor to the Astronaut Memorial Foundation, a member of the Brevard Community College Board of Governors, and the Public Relations Advisory Council, University of Florida School of Journalism
Initially upon retiring he moved with his wife Linda to Park City Utah. During this time he added to his Florida based endeavors, involvement in local leadership training, Water Rights Board, and the Park City Mountain Sports Club.
Ultimately the couple returned east to be closer to family. They took up residence in the community at Biltmore Lake and found their people in their neighbors there.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Linda Hollinshead; and a brother Byron Hollinshead, Jr.
Those left behind to cherish his memory are his two sons, John (Carol) Hollinshead of Santa Maria, CA and William Kevin (Cyndi) Hollinshead of Cape Canaveral, FL; a daughter, Kelley Lin Shotwell of Nashville, TN; mother of his children, Joanne Murphy of Winter Park, FL; three grandchildren, Karen and Eleni Hollinshead both of Santa Maria, CA and Sean Hollinshead, of Berkley, CA; a niece, Elinore Hollinshead of Barrington, RI; and a nephew, Ralph (Rose) Hollinshead of Raleigh, NC.
The family will announce a memorial service at a later date.
Donations can be made in memory of Charles Hollinshead to:
100 Far Horizons Lane
Asheville NC 28803
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Charles Thornton Hollinshead, please visit our floral store.