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Mayor: Toledo Express Airport to be renamed after Central Catholic alumnus and NASA flight director Gene Kranz

The Toledo native was the flight director for the Apollo 11 and 13 missions.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszkiewicz on Wednesday announced a plan to rename Toledo Express Airport for Central Catholic alumnus and NASA pioneer Gene Kranz. The announcement came on the Scott Sands Show on WSPD radio. 

A city of Toledo spokesperson confirmed the account on Wednesday afternoon.The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority still needs to take action on this to make it happen.  

Ignazio Messina with the City of Toledo added that Toledo City Council will also need to vote on the decision.

Kranz was born on Aug. 17, 1933, in Toledo, and he attended Central Catholic High School, graduating in 1951. He credits his teachers for giving him the education, enthusiasm and skills necessary to be successful at his job with NASA. 

Central Catholic was the recipient of Kranz's NASA-bestowed Ambassador of Exploration Award, which he gave to the school in 2007. The award has a piece of the moon encased in lucite. 

RELATED: Central Catholic's 'Moon Room' houses moon rock from alumnus and Apollo 11 flight director Gene Kranz

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RELATED: Apollo 11 Flight Director Gene Kranz directed men to the moon, but got his earthly start here in Toledo

Kranz's affinity for space was reflected in his high school thesis, "The Design and Possibilities of the Interplanetary Rocket." 

“I always wanted to fly,” Kranz later wrote in his memoir, "Failure Is Not an Option." “I had my head in the clouds and my heart followed.”

Though his trajectory was meteoric, Kranz's beginnings were decidely earth-bound, having grown up on a farm that overlooked the Willys-Overland Jeep plant. 

Credit: AP
Gene Kranz, Toledo native, aerospace engineer, fighter pilot and the most prominent of the Apollo era flight directors and later Director of NASA Flight Operations, stand behind the console where he worked during the Gemini and Apollo missions.

He flew an F-86 Sabre aircraft in patrol operations around the demilitarized zone during the Korean War. Following his Korea tour, Kranz started in research and testing with McDonnell Aircraft Corporation, and then joined the NASA Space Task Group in 1960. 

Kranz married Marta Cardena, and the couple had six children. Marta sewed, and made for Gene what became known as his signature waistcoats. Starting with the Gemini 4 mission, he wore a new vest for each mission. The Smithsonian has the vest he wore during the tense return of Apollo 13. 

During his NASA career, he was promoted to flight director level and served as such for Gemini and odd-numbered Apollo missions.