Alfred 'Al' Boissevain, engineer and winemaker, dies at 92


Alfred "Al" Boissevain, whose late wife, Hedy Boissevain was a co-founder of The Almanac (Country Almanac), died Jan. 5 in Bloomington, Indiana. He was 92.

Mr. Boissevain was born in Brooklyn and grew up on the Adirondack Poultry Farm, now the Meadowmont School of Music, in upstate New York. He attended Middlebury College, where he met his future wife, Hedvig "Hedy" Hogg. He graduated in 1945 and completed an additional degree at MIT in 1946.

Al Boissevain
Turning a lifelong passion for flight into a profession, he was employed as an aeronautical engineer at Chance-Vought in Connecticut before accepting a position with the National Space Administration (later NASA) at the Ames Research Center in Mountain View.

While at NASA he worked on many projects, including design work on the early supersonic test planes and the Mercury capsules for the early space missions, as well as early development of equipment and procedures used in the initial Mars landing.

At the end of his career, he was back to airplanes, working on designs for short take-off and landing aircraft for several years. Living in Portola Valley, he was active in the community, serving on the school board for several years. He was a member of Ladera Community Church and active in the construction of its present building.

After retiring from NASA in 1978, he and his wife established Vinehill, a vineyard specializing in chardonnay and viognier, in Georgetown, California. Mr. Boissevain became an award-winning winemaker, marketing his grapes to wineries within the El Dorado appellation, as well as to home winemakers.

Retiring a second time, 30 years later, he moved to Bloomington, where his daughter resides. He is survived by his children, Claire (Phillip Crooke) of Bloomington, Paul (Margaret) of Hancock, Mich., and Charles (Nancy) of Oakland; four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. His wife, Hedy, died in 1998.

Memorial contributions may be made to The Sycamore Land Trust, P.O. Box 7801, Bloomington IN 47407.

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