HOUSTON, TX (KFDA) - Astronaut Alan Bean, a Wheeler-born astronaut and the fourth man to set foot on the surface of the moon, died Saturday in Houston at the age of 86.
Bean's death came after the sudden onset of illness while in Fort Wayne, IN two weeks prior.
He was born in Wheeler, Texas on March 15, 1932. He received a Bachelor of Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Texas in 1955.
Bean began his aviation career as a fighter pilot for the U.S. Navy before being selected to participate in the test flight program.
He logged more than 7,145 hours of flying time.
During his time in Attack Squadron 172, he was selected as an astronaut for NASA.
Bean was the lunar module pilot for the Apollo 12 mission, landing the module in the moon's Ocean of Storms.
The mission conducted experiments and installed a nuclear power generator station on the moon.
He also commanded a mission to Skylab, a United States space station.
In all, Bean logged 1671 hours and 45 minutes in space.
After his retirement from the Navy, he continued as the head of the Astronaut Candidate Operations and Training Group in a civilian role.
Leslie Bean, his wife of 40 years, reflected on their time together in a joint statement released by NASA.
"Alan was the strongest and kindest man I ever knew. He was the love of my life and I miss him dearly," said Leslie "A native Texan, Alan died peacefully in Houston surrounded by those who loved him."
Bean is survived by his wife Leslie, his sister Paula Stott, and two children, Amy Sue and Clay.