Our Family | Manned Lunar Landing Program

Ellis was born 21 November, 1921 in Atlanta, GA. As his Dad was a traveling salesman, the family moved every now and again to his base of sales: Chattanooga, Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia, Providence...and back again to Atlanta and, then, Jacksonville. At one time, Ellis and Marjorie (unbeknownst to one another) were in the same elementary school in Atlanta: the 10th Street Elementary [but I, of course, was an "upper classman"] All through elementary school, Jr. High (O'Keefe), and part of high school (Boy's High), his constant and best friend was Hiram Horne...his parents were Ellis's parents and vice versa. It was painful to leave him when the family, in the summer of '37 moved to Jacksonville.

Ellis attended Robert E. Lee High in Jacksonville, FL where he soon made wonderful friends. Of particular note is Billy Lasarow of Studio City; he and Billy continue to enjoy long walks and talks in the hills surrounding their homes. Ellis, Harvey Leitman, and George ("Bubba") Benjamin were among the founding members of the still-extant Esquire Club and you will note (below) a listing of the "officers"...and Ellis played first-string Left Tackle on the Lee championship football team when they won the Florida State "Big-Ten" Championship in 1939-40. "Arnie" [Silverberg], my best freind, is also seen in the "All Star's" photo

Click on photo to enlarge

After graduation from Lee, Ellis with Billy and other close friends entered the University of Florida in Gainesville, Class of '44. And they became members of the Pi Lambda Phi fraternity with experiences that continue to afford many pleasant memories.

Of course, Dec 7, 1941 pretty much shook up things on campus and a number of "brothers' went to war but most engineering students, of which Ellis was one, were deferred to complete their studies. By the summer of '43, Ellis entered Georgia Tech to complete his last semester. After graduation, he was hired by Bell Aircraft in Marietta, GA as a liaison engineer for the manufacture of the B-29 bomber aircraft. As the war ended, he happily took a job in aeronautical research at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics at Langley Field, VA (outside Hampton). The "happily" word refers to the fact that it was from Hampton that Ellis was invited to attend an afternoon tea party in Richmond...and it was there, that Ellis first saw his beautiful Marjorie.

Baby Ellis In Miami 1936 A program from one of the Esquire Club's annual dances. Notice that "Bubba" Benjamin is president and Harvey VP. [Click on pic to enlarge]
Harvey was my great friend and, later, my "best man" at our wedding in Chattanooga Several "brothers" of the Class of '44 showing off their scholastic honors in front of the frat house. Note Billy seated at front right. That's me back center. "Bubba" went off to war where he flew a torpedo bomber against the Japanese .
This family portrait was taken in Atlanta in 1946 just several months before my sister, Florence and I were each married.

I met the "Love of My Life", Marjorie Ruth Blumberg, at a Sunday Dance/Tea Party in Richmond, March 1946, just as she was completing her studies at William & Mary's College of Fine Arts in Richmond. On the 28th of July 1946, in Chattanooga,her birthplace, Marjorie Ruth married Ellis Katz for a lifetime of love, three sons and families, and happiness.

At the NACA (later NASA) we used Wallop's Island off the coast of Maryland to launch our research rockets. This is a photo of one of my aerodynamic models [Jan 47]...using such rocket models, we obtained and reported the earliest supersonic aerodynamic data. [Click on photo to enlarge] I joined North American Aviation (at Downey, CA) in May 55, assigned to Advanced Programs. In 1957, I led the Preliminary Design of the GAM-77 ["Hounddog"] air-to ground missile . During the years 60-63, I was a Director of Advanced Man Space Systems as Hughes Aircraft, Culver City. But, in Oct 63, I was called back to North Amercian Aviation to direct the Systems Engineering of the Apllo-Saturn II Program. The photo below shows some supervisory members of my group being awarded honors for work on the program. [Click on photo to enlarge] In my later years at North American (merged with Rockwell, then Boeing] I, once again, took up a role in Advanced Programs, this time as Director of Advanced Launch Systems. I began to focus attention of the building or Large Space Structures (precursor to the Space Station) and , in the photo below, am demonstrating how the Shuttle may be used to transport such strutures. [Click on photo to enlarge] In October of 80, I gave a paper at the Congress of the International Astronautical Federation in Tokyo. The conference was held in the Prince Takayama Hotel and attended by engineers and scientists from all major nations. My paper was on "On Construction of Large Space Structures. [Click on photo to enlarge]
Retirement in early 87 has led to some of the best years of our lives. Marjorie and I have driven through France, Sicily, Italy, Spain; hiked the English Cotswolds, the Alps, the High Sierra and our local Santa Monicas; joined the Calabasas Golf & Country Club where we played lots of great golf and celebrated our 50th Annivesary; made many new friends; and I joined the SAGE Society and have participed in and led many studies of wide-ranging interest.

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