Harry G. Bitting, involved in Apollo mission

January 9, 2014

Harry G. Bitting, 92, of Lewes, formerly of Severna Park, Md., passed away Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, at his residence. He was born Dec. 12, 1921, in West Reading, Pa., son of the late William and Martha (Tyson) Bitting.

Mr. Bitting was a 1937 graduate of West Reading High School and furthered his education attending Albright College in Reading. He graduated in May of 1942 with his bachelor of science degree in economics. He worked for the Bureau of Labor Statistics in Washington, D.C. for two months before his draft number came up and he was inducted into the Army Air Force. Mr. Bitting served his country proudly during World War II as a cryptographer in the South Pacific. He served as a technical sergeant in the 150th Army Airways Communication System Squadron and was honorably discharged in 1945.

After returning home in 1945, Harry was able to marry his kindergarten and sand box sweetheart, Jean. He again furthered his education, attending the University of California, nearly completing his master's degree in mathematics. Mr. Bitting began a career with the Navy Hydrographic Office, National Oceanic Graphic Office in Washington, D.C. where he worked for several years. His next career move would bring him to Goddard Space Flight Centers in Greenbelt, Md., where he was computer operations manager. He retired in 1977 after 30-plus years of government service. He was extremely proud of his contributions to the Apollo missions, the Apollo /Soyuz mission and Skylab Program.

Not one for sitting around, Mr. Bitting soon returned to the work force as a computer consultant for NASA, which he enjoyed for several years. Following his career as a NASA consultant, Mr. Bitting became an insurance salesman for 13 years with the Aid Association for Lutherans, now known as Thrivent. In 1989 he would retire once again from the work force and relocate to the beaches of Lewes and Palm Coast, Fla. He became a member of the Lutheran Church of Our Savior in Rehoboth Beach where he was extremely active in his church. Mr. Bitting enjoyed volunteering and lending a hand wherever needed for his church family. He was active in men’s Bible study groups, was an elder of the church, past president of the congregation, Sunday school teacher, vacation Bible school teacher and usher. Mr. Bitting was also a choir member and loved the joy singing brought to not only himself but others.

He was an excellent athlete enjoying many sports and an avid skier, and skied until he was 89 years of age! Mr. Bitting loved the ocean and the mountains, anything that brought him outdoors with nature. He continued the pursuit of education all of his life, considering himself a “professional student.” His love of learning never ceased. He was a world traveler, visiting Elderhostels all over the globe. Mr. Bitting’s greatest love in life was spending time with his family who meant the world to him. He will be remembered as a loving husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and loyal friend.

In addition to his parents, Mr. Bitting was preceded in death by his granddaughter: Kristin Horstman. He is survived by his wife of 68 years and sand box sweetheart of 87 years, Jean; four daughters: Candace Horstman and husband David of Naperville, Ill., Christine Garrett and husband Robert of Lithia, Fla., Connie Dieter and husband Michael of Margate, Fla. and Colleen Kirchoff and husband David of Ridgefield, Conn.; six grandchildren: Kimberly Keith and husband Steve, Jonathan Horstman and wife Jackee, Ryan Dieter; Kylee Pina and husband Francisco, Tyler Kirchoff and fiancé Lindsey Murray and Megan Kirchoff; and four great-grandchildren: Marie Keith, Blake Dieter, Kaitlyn Pina and Michael Pina.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, Jan. 11, at 11 a.m., at the Lutheran Church of Our Savior, 20276 Bay Vista Road, Rehoboth Beach. The family will receive visitors prior to the service and a luncheon reception will follow.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Cadbury Foundation, 17028 Cadbury Circle, Lewes, DE 19958, or to the Lutheran Church of Our Savior.