Katherine Johnson, the former NASA mathematician and central character in the 2016 blockbuster, Hidden Figures, will be laid to rest on Saturday at Hampton University. Johnson was 101-years-old when she passed away on February 24.
According to WTKR3, the services for the celebrated matriarch will be held at the Hampton University Convocation Center on Saturday, starting at 11 a.m. On Friday, Johnson’s viewing will take place at the O.H. Smith & Son Funeral Home from 12 to 3 p.m. Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. will have an Ivy Beyond the Wall ceremony for its Diamond (75 years of service) member, afterward.
Johnson was a member of the Hampton Roads community for a number of years, and was invited in 2017 to give the commencement speech at Hampton University. At the time her granddaughter, Laurie Hylick told ESSENCE, “My brother and I, and my parents all graduated from Hampton University. So to see my grandmother delivering the commencement speech at our alma mater, at 98, will be a uniquely proud moment for all of us, especially on Mother’s Day. It will be an awesome day for the family.”
Johnson became known to the world after Margot Lee Shetterly’s book, Hidden Figures. She is known for calculating the flight trajectory for Alan Shepard’s space flight, which lifted off in 1961. He became the first American in space by heeding her calculations. The following year she helped John Glenn become the first American to orbit the Earth. In 2015, then-President Barack Obama honored the scientist and mathematician with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.