Saturday, July 24, 2010

What? Another Iowa Governor Encounter: Robert D. Ray

This week 42N met current Iowa Governor, Chet Culver (D) at the Cedar Rapids airport. Three days later I discovered this photograph of then Governor Robert D. Ray (R.) According to the information on the back of the photo the governor and his wife were attending a parade in Vinton, Iowa on July 29, 1969. The governor waved to the crowd from the backseat of a 1938 Packard Super Eight.

Robert D. Ray served as Iowa's 38th governor from January 16, 1969 to January 14, 1983; this photo was taken during his sixth month in office. After Ray returned to private life, I met him in his capacity of co-owner of WMT radio in Cedar Rapids in the 1980s. Ray's office was located at the Life Investors (later AEGON, then later Transamerica) building where he served as a Board of Directors member.

Ray's third Lieutenant Governor was Terry Branstad, who later succeeded Ray as governor in 1983 for 16 years. In 2010 Branstad is running for governor again against Chet Culver.

On the day this earthly governor photo was taken, another series of photos were being snapped a world away - literally. NASA's Mariner 6 spacecraft began transmitting images of the planet Mars before the craft's closest approach two days later. Mariner soared 2,100 miles above Mars before going in a heliocentric (sun centered) orbit where it remains to this day. Images from Mariner 6 helped identify 20 percent of the planet, determine the composition and temperature of the polar caps, and led to decisions of where to send the first two Viking landers in 1976.

Forty-One years ago July 29th was a busy day here in 42N country and near the fourth rock from the Sun.

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