Son Thomas Kenneth Mattingly III


Son Thomas Kenneth Mattingly III

Ken Mattingly Wife: Get insights on the celebrated astronaut Ken’s life-partner, Elizabeth Dailey, as he tragically passed away on October 31, 2023.  

Ken Mattingly, the legendary astronaut who played a vital role in the Apollo 13 mission and later flew to the moon on Apollo 16, passed away on October 31, 2023, at the age of 87.

He was one of the 24 people who have ever visited the lunar surface and one of the only two who also flew on the Space Shuttle. He was a hero, a pioneer and an inspiration to many.

But behind every great man, there is a great woman. In this case, that woman was Elizabeth Dailey, Mattingly’s wife of 53 years.

She was his partner, his supporter and his confidante. She shared his joys and sorrows, his triumphs and challenges, his dreams and achievements.

Who was Elizabeth Dailey? How did she meet Ken Mattingly? What was their life like together?

In this article, we will explore these questions and pay tribute to the woman who stood by one of America’s most celebrated astronauts.

Ken Mattingly Wife: Who Was Elizabeth Dailey?

Elizabeth Dailey was born in Hollywood, California, in the mid-1940s. She grew up in a family that loved movies and music, and she developed a passion for both.

She attended UCLA, where she majored in English literature and minored in theater. She was a talented actress and singer, and she performed in several plays and musicals during her college years.

She met Ken Mattingly in 1969 when he was training for the Apollo 13 mission as the command module pilot.

They were introduced by a mutual friend at a party in Houston, where Mattingly was based at the Johnson Space Center. They hit it off immediately and soon started dating.

Ken Mattingly, John Young, and Charles Duke, the astronauts of Apollo 16, are pictured from left to right in white suits, exiting the spacecraft and floating in a rubber raft in the Pacific Ocean. (ABC News)

They got married in June 1970, just two months after the dramatic return of Apollo 13 to Earth.

Mattingly had been originally assigned to fly on that mission, but he was exposed to German measles and replaced by Jack Swigert at the last minute.

He later joked that he married Elizabeth because she had immunity to measles. Elizabeth supported Ken’s career as an astronaut, even though it meant long periods of separation and constant worry.

She moved with him to Florida, where he trained for Apollo 16, his first lunar mission. She watched him blast off on April 16, 1972 and waited anxiously for his safe return 11 days later.

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She was proud of his accomplishments, but she also valued his humility and kindness. She once said he was “the most down-to-earth person I know.” She also said that he had a great sense of humor and a love for life.

Ken Mattingly & Elizabeth Dailey Children: Son Thomas Kenneth Mattingly III

Elizabeth and Ken had one child together, a son named Thomas Kenneth Mattingly III. He was born in 1972, just two months after Ken’s historic moon landing.

He inherited his father’s interest in science and engineering, and he graduated from MIT with a degree in aerospace engineering.

He followed his father’s footsteps and joined the Navy as an aviator. He flew F/A-18 Hornet jets on several missions around the world.

He later became a test pilot and an instructor at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland.

Ken Mattingly Son
Ken Mattingly had been helping the next generation of astronauts along. (Image Source: Space Lectures)

He married Jennifer Lee in 1998, and they had two children: Thomas Kenneth Mattingly IV and Katherine Elizabeth Mattingly. They live in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Thomas said that his father was his role model and mentor and that he taught him everything he knew about flying.

He also said that his mother was his best friend and cheerleader and that she always encouraged him to pursue his dreams.

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Thomas said that both his parents were very loving and supportive of each other and their family. He said that they had a strong marriage based on mutual respect and admiration.

He also said that he will miss them both dearly, but he will always remember their legacy of courage, excellence and compassion.

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