Famous Astronaut Interred in Santa Monica

Santa Monica chosen as the final resting place for the first American woman in space, but the grave isn't easy to find yet.


Sally Ride, who soared into history as the first American woman in space, was buried in an intimate ceremony Monday at in Santa Monica.

Her interment at the local cemetery was announced by the city's manager's office Tuesday evening. Ride was laid to rest with a small private gathering for family and friends.

"The city of Santa Monica is honored that the family chose Santa Monica as Dr. Ride’s final resting place," Mayor Richard Bloom said in a statement. "The community will forever treasure our National hero."

The grave, while open to public viewing, won't be easy to find right away, said acting cemetery administrator Benjamin M. Steers.

"There is no marker specifying where she is yet," he said. "The family purchases the marker from a monument company and we pour the concrete border and install it. Depending on the company this can take several weeks."

Ride after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer.

She was 61.

Her first trip into space was June 18, 1983 aboard the shuttle Challenger six years after she responded to an advertisement from NASA, which was looking for applicants to its astronaut program. She was earning her doctoral degree in physics at Stanford University when she joined 8,000 others in applying. She was one of only 35 who were chosen.

She worked as a member of the ground crew for two missions of the space shuttle Columbia before being chosen as a member of the crew for the historic Challenger flight. She eventually flew once more aboard the Challenger.

A third assignment was suspended when the Challenger exploded shortly after launch in January 1986. Ride served on the presidential commission that investigated the explosion.

Even before her death, she was considered a national hero and role model.

"As the first American woman in space, she broke through barriers and inspired the nation by her courage as an astronaut and by her commitment to educating future generations," Mayor Bloom said.

Her father Dale B. Ride worked for four decades at , first as a political science instructor before becoming assistant to the superintendent. He died in 1987 at the age of 67 after prostate surgery in Santa Monica Hospital, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Woodlawn Cemetery, Mausoleum and Mortuary is owned and operated by the city of Santa Monica. The cemetery is at 1847 14th St. across the street from the college.

— Patch editor Michelle Mowad contributed to this report.

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