MONTVILLE, NJ – Fittingly celebrated on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch, the Montville Township Committee applauded the achievements of lifetime resident Florence Larson Pipes for her participation in the Apollo program’s success.
Pipes, now 93, was an employee of Marotta Controls for 31 years, which assembled valves for the space vehicles used by NASA, according to a proclamation read by township Mayor Richard Conklin and presented to Pipes at the committee’s July 16 meeting.
When Pipes was 36 years old, she was recognized by the Apollo program for having zero defects in her work, and was given a certificate that stated that she had made an outstanding contribution to the program. Pipes and her sons attended the Apollo 6 liftoff on April 4, 1968, dined with NASA’s Dr. Wernher von Braun, and toured Cape Canaveral in Florida.
Boeing presented all participants in the Apollo 6 program with a letter of commendation in 1970, and as part of the thank you, a brochure was made of the letter – and was left on the moon’s surface. Pipes’ name was among those names.
“Think about it,” Conklin said. “There is debris on the surface of the moon as we speak here tonight. In that debris is a stack of names. Florence’s name is on the surface of the moon tonight, as we present this award.”
“Florence Larson Pipes’ precision and hard work led her to be a key player in the Apollo 6 program and made man’s trip to the moon possible,” the proclamation reads in part. “The township committee extends its sincere appreciation to her for her excellent contributions and dedication.”
“The Larson family goes back quite a ways in Montville Township,” Conklin said. “You can see a Larson on that wall back there [in the Municipal Building chambers] because there was a Larson who was mayor in 1962. A Larson was on the police force. They’ve got deep roots in the township, and the township appreciates them.”
Pipes said that she had a brother who was in the Navy and he gave a lot of his time to Montville – “He was on the board of health,” she said.
“My husband, Eric, he was in the Air Force, and he was mayor,” she said. “My father served in France. My father earned a Purple Heart for our country. Last of all, my son, Edward, was not in the service, but he goes to the School for the Blind, has two titanium tubes in his eyes, and he had corneal implants. He goes to ShopRite and accepts their donations of bread, cake and cookies and brings them to Denville, the Senior House, the First Aid Squad and the Police Department. He does all right by Montville. Thank you so very much for coming.”
Pipes wanted to make sure that everyone saw her father’s Purple Heart, so please view it in the photo gallery. Still active herself, Conklin said Pipes works two days a week for Meals On Wheels.
The Apollo Lunar Module Eagle landed on the moon on July 20, 1969 and Apollo returned to Earth on the 24th.
Conklin said that such presentations put a smile on his face.
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