Margaret Klute from Portland, Oregon

Margaret Klute from Portland, Oregon

Created by Margaret Klute from Portland, Oregon 

Title: Klute Crater

Dream Theme: Science / Technology

Materials: Cotton fabric and batting

Techniques: Photo printing on fabric, machine appliqué, piecing and quilting

I am trying to get to my father.
I studied geology, which was one of his hobbies.
and caught a trace of him there.
I am reading about bombs.
Robert Oppenheimer.
and the secret city of Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
I am reading about rockets.
and Warner Von Braun.
and the race to the moon.
My father didn’t go to the moon.
but he tried to get others there.
and his name is there.
His work was first about airplane engines.
then purifying uranium to make atomic bombs.
then modeling three dimensional elasticity.
then designing combustion stability in
the chambers of the Saturn V rocket.
And then to end it all all.
there was some kind of explosion.
in the chambers of his heart.
More than one.
And so I cannot get to him.
I sift through the blast debris just for a trace.
(Poem by Margaret Klute, November 14, 2008)
Margaret Klute from Portland, Oregon

Margaret Klute from Portland, Oregon

What is your artwork about?
This Dream Rocket panel honors my father, Daniel O’ Donnell Klute, (1921-1964). He was born in Detroit, Michigan, and graduated from University of Michigan in 1942 with a degree in Engineering. During WWII, he worked for the Chrysler Institute in Detroit, developing aircraft engines for the war effort while earning his Master’s degree. My mother, Frances Mary Kramer, also worked there, hired for a war time job testing experimental airplane engines. They married in 1945, and moved immediately to Oakridge, Tennessee, where my father worked in the Manhattan Project. After the war, they moved to California, and Daniel earned his PhD at UC Berkeley in 1950, and then joined the Space Race. At the time of his death from a heart attack in 1964, he was working for Rocketdyne in Canoga Park, California. There he played a key role in solving the combustion instability problem in the F-1 engine that would go on to power the Saturn V rocket to the moon. After his death he received a Public Service Award from NASA. In 1970, the International Astronomical Union named a crater on the far side of the moon in his honor, as a representative of the engineers and technologists who contributed to the moon landing. 
My parents welcomed nine children between 1948 and 1962. Daniel was a devoted family man, and an avid hiker and camper. Yosemite National Park and Death Valley were favorite destinations. He pursued hobbies of photography, woodworking and geology, and sang in his church choir. He designed and had built an amazing addition to our house in Granada Hills, California, where we continued to live until we were all grown. My mother never remarried, but devoted herself to raising our family until her death in 2006. We have always taken great pride in knowing that our father made a significant contribution to the Space Race, and it is in that spirit that I am contributing this panel to the Dream Rocket.   
Did you enjoy working on this project?
This was an educational and emotionally rewarding process for me as I researched about my father’s career, and gathered family photos and documents. I finished sewing the panel in 2011, and planned to send it then as a part of the ‘closure’ process, but found I could not part with it. I have since finished making an exact replica, which I will keep in my home.

Image Captions and Sources:

1. My Father’s Rocketdyne business card.

2. My mother, Frances Klute receiving the NASA Public Service Award from Warner von Braun in May, 1965.

3. My fathers Dissertation defense announcement, University of California, June, 1950.

4. My parents on their wedding day, May 8, 1945.

5. My father with my brother Mike at graduation from UC Berkeley, June, 1950.

6. My father equipped for hiking with camera and binoculars in Death Valley, California, ~1960.

7. F-1 Engine at Kennedy Space Center. (NASA)*

8. The nine Klute children in our backyard in Granada Hills, California, 1963.

9. Me with my parents in May, 1964, about 4 months before my father died.

10. The Klute children and extended families at a family wedding in July, 2009.

11. A montage of Saturn V launches, 1967 – 1973. (NASA)*

12. Location of Klute Crater on the moon.

13. NASA Lunar Chart, Sky and Telescope magazine, Vol. 40, No. 5, November 1980.

14. F-1 Engine diagram. (NASA)*

15. View of the Saturn V looking in the 5 F-1 engines. (NASA)*

(NASA)* – Public domain images from NASA, via Wikipedia.
All other images are from family photos and documents.