Dale was just one of many Clinton citizens who went out into the world and “made a name for themselves.” We had two other astronauts as well as famous people like Artemus Gates, who was assistant secretary of the Navy in WWII and a leading bank president; Marquis Childs, a Pulitzer Prize winner; Lillian Russell, our most famous native who was an entertainer and later became an ambassador; Fred “Duke” Slater, a famous athlete and later judge; W.H.D. Koerner, a world-renown artist/ illustrator; Frank “Felix” Adler, the world-beloved circus clown; Charles Toney, a John Deere executive and civil rights activist; Joan Wagner Beck, feature writer for the Chicago Tribune, etc. We need to remember and honor these individuals who provide excellent examples of what can be accomplished by people from a small community.
George “Pinky” Nelson was born to former teachers of Clinton High School, George and Tess Nelson. In 2009, Nelson, 63, was inducted into the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame. He was a graduate of the University of Washington and is an educator/astronomer. Nelson performed astronomical research at the Sacramento Peak Solar Observatory and worldwide.
His current research is in systemic education reform and in the preparation of science teachers. A veteran of three space flights, Nelson has logged a total of 411 hours in space.
Col. David Hilmers, 64, of DeWitt, graduated from Central Community High School in DeWitt in 1968; received a bachelor of arts degree in mathematics (Summa Cum Laude) from Cornell College in 1972, then a master of science degree in electrical engineering. A veteran of four space flights, Hilmers has logged more than 493 hours in space. He retired from NASA and the United States Marine Corps in October 1992. He received a Doctor of Medicine degree from the Baylor College of Medicine in 1995 and a master of science degree in public health from the University of Texas-Houston Health Science Center in 2002. In addition to his teaching and clinical duties, he is involved in research in global health and malnutrition.