A great grandmother who adored flying was honoured after death with a fitting tribute – when her grieving family blasted her ashes – into SPACE.
Adventure-loving Edyth ‘Nicky’ Lee was always gazing at the stars and loved being in the sky according to her daughter Niki Mott, 70.
The former music professor also grew up in the same town as retired NASA astronaut Harrison Schmitt, the most recent living person to have walked on the moon.
Like him, Edyth, who was known as Nicky, “would have loved the idea of going to space”, Niki said.
So when she died aged 90 following a bout of the flu, her children decided to do something unusual to honor her.
They clubbed together to pay for a capsule of Edyth’s ashes to be launched into outer space on a ROCKET.
The spectacle was organized by Celestis, a space burial firm which arranged for the spacecraft to take off from Spaceport America in New Mexico.
As part of the $1,295 ,‘Earth Rise Service’ the cremated remains of participants are blasted to an altitude of 77 miles before being brought back down to earth.
Edyth’s daughter Niki Mott, 70, an English professor of southern New Mexico, said: “Mom was a very adventuresome person from the time she was born.
“She was raised in New Mexico and she went to school with a gentleman who was one of the last US astronauts to walk the moon.”
As a teenager during World War Two, Edyth lived in Santa Rita, New Mexico, and flew in aircraft there with pilots-in-training,” Niki said.
“She asked to go up with them, and I’m sure they were pleased to have a fearless, enthusiastic female companion.
“She always loved being up in the sky and being able to see the stars at night.
“She loved watching the airplane contrails and she called them ‘sky ribbons’.
“When I heard about Celestis space flights we thought she may as well go up into space after death.
“We went up to Spaceport America and when the rocket went up, we all oohed and aahed. The whole crowd was very excited.
“There was also a memorial service the night before.”
Gran-of-four and great gran-of-seven Edyth married David Lee, a fellow student at the University of New Mexico who went on to serve in WWII as an Army officer.
She died in 2013 and took part in the Celestis Conestoga spaceflight on October 23 2014.
She is survived by four children including Niki, who added: “She would have loved the idea of going to space.
“She really was a remarkable, energetic and enthusiastic person.
“If there was an adventure to be had, no matter how old she was, she wanted to be in with it.”
Celestis claims to be the only company to have launched ashes into space and has conducted 14 memorial missions since its foundation in 1997.
As well as the voyage Edyth’s ashes were on, they operate round-the-world earth orbit services and flights to the MOON.
Celestis co-founder Charles Chafer said: “If you’re interested in space and always wanted to go in your life – which is still not available to you unless you have about $30million – it is a way to fulfill that dream.
“We have a lot of people who are sci fi cans because we flew the creator of Star Trek, but there are people who just think it’s the coolest memorial they can think of.
“You don’t ever see cheering and happy faces at a funeral like you do at our services.”