Fourth Man to Walk on Moon, FWISD Wall of Fame Honoree Capt. Alan Bean Dies at 86
Fort Worth ISD is saddened at the passing of Paschal High School alumnus and Wall of Fame recipient, Capt. Alan Bean, the fourth human to walk on the moon.
Capt. Bean died Saturday, May 26, in Houston. He was 86. According to an obituary released on the Bean family’s behalf by NASA, Capt. Bean died two weeks after suddenly becoming ill while traveling in Indiana.
“Alan was the strongest and kindest man I ever knew. He was the love of my life and I miss him dearly,” his wife, Leslie, said in the NASA obituary. “A native Texan, Alan died peacefully in Houston surrounded by those who loved him.”
Capt. Bean was born March 15, 1932, in Wheeler in the Texas Panhandle. His father’s job as a scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture brought the family to Fort Worth, he wrote on his website. Capt. Bean is a 1950 graduate of R.L. Paschal High School and is among one of the first people recognized as a Wall of Fame honoree, which celebrates successful FWISD students.
Following his graduation from Paschal, he enrolled at the University of Texas where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering. He attended Navy Test Pilot School and was among 14 trainees from the U.S. Navy selected in 1963 by NASA to become one of its third group of astronauts.
The Apollo and Skylab astronaut traveled to space twice. In November 1969, he was a lunar module pilot on Apollo 12, the country’s second moon landing mission. In July 1973, he was a commander aboard the U.S. second crew flight traveling to Skylab, the first U.S. space station.
A Star-Telegram obituary states that Capt. Bean “carried pennants and mementos from Paschal High School into space as the lunar module pilot on Apollo 12.”
A Paschal High flag and Capt. Bean’s patch that he wore on the Apollo 12 mission was presented to the faculty and students at the high school in December 1969. It currently hangs in a frame on a wall in the high school along with a framed portrait of the astronaut.
The Fort Worth Library has images of the December 22, 1969 parade in Capt. Bean's honor in Fort Worth and a copy of the Paschal yearbook when he attended school there.
Capt. Bean retired from the Navy in 1975, and he retired from NASA six years later. Following his career at NASA, he became an accomplished artist who for nearly four decades painted Apollo-themed pieces. According to NASA, the canvases were “textured with lunar boot prints,” and the acrylics were “embedded with small pieces of his moon dust-stained mission patches.”
“He was a one-of-a-kind combination of technical achievement as an astronaut and artistic achievement as a painter,” said astronaut Mike Massimino in the statement released by NASA. “But what was truly extraordinary was his deep caring for others and his willingness to inspire and teach by sharing his personal journey so openly. Anyone who had the opportunity to know Alan was a better person for it, and we were better astronauts by following his example.”
Capt. Bean is survived by his wife Leslie, of 40 years, two children, Amy Sue and Clay from a previous marriage, and his sister, Paula.
All of us at Fort Worth ISD extend our deepest sympathy to Capt. Bean’s loved ones and friends.