Saturday, January 27, 1990 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Luther Stenvick, Apollo Official Honored By Plaque On Moon

A memorial service will be held tomorrow for Luther Stenvick, a Queen Anne resident whose name, although little known to the public, is on a plaque now resting on the moon.

Services for Stenvick will be at 11:30 a.m. at 901 Fairview Ave. N.

Stenvick, who was 60 when he died Dec. 22, was in charge of the backup control center for the Apollo space program of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

The Apollo program produced six manned missions to the moon, including the first by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.

``Dad's name is on a plaque that was left on the moon by one of those flights, as the boss of the backup control center,'' said his son, Luther. His name also is on a plaque in the Smithsonian Institution, the son said. His father also received awards and commendations for his work in the space program, he added.

Stenvick was part of a Boeing management team, said the son, and ``actually he was their trouble-shooter on lots of contracts. When something went wrong, they sent him to fix it.''

Later, Stenvick worked on a number of classified projects for the Air Force, his son said.

His last task before retiring from Boeing in 1986 was to film, write, edit and narrate a film about the program that developed the system and equipment for putting satellites into special orbits.

Stenvick also wrote a book published by Boeing, titled ``The Agile Giant,'' detailing the history of the development of the Minuteman missile.

He had joined the company in 1962 as a motion- picture-camera operator for the early test flights of the Minuteman program.

``One of the things that bothered Dad a lot was the murder of his best friend, Eia Sundby, out in West Seattle,'' his son said. He got the Boeing divers into the search for the murder weapon,'' said the son.

Sundby, a Boeing secretary, was murdered in September 1985 by a bus driver who had harassed her for dates.

Her death attracted considerable attention when it was learned she had previously made numerous calls to Seattle police informing them of the harassment, to no avail.

Stenvick, a native of Cando, N.D., was a communications graduate of the University of Minnesota. He came to Seattle in 1960.

Survivors, in addition to his son, include three grandchildren.

Copyright (c) 1990 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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