UOG Employee Trevor Boykin talks about the death of his grandmother, pioneering NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson

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Pioneering NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, right, with her grandson Trevor Boykin.

Pioneering African-American NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson has passed away at the age of 101.

Johnson is known for calculating rocket trajectories and Earth orbits for NASA’s early space missions — including computing the trajectory for the 1969 Apollo 11 flight to the moon.

Her life was depicted in the 2016 film “Hidden Figures,” which featured her and her trailblazing black colleagues whose work was essential during the space race.

She passed away earlier today at 101.

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But Johnson was more than an important part of history. She was a wife, a mother, as well as a grandmother.

In an interview with K57’s Patti Arroyo, Johnson’s grandson Trevor Boykin says that she was not experiencing any medical issues.

“As far as I know, her health was as steady it should be for someone who was 101 years old. I think it was the mental stress of slowly losing everyone. Last year, her husband passed around this time. So I think losing her love really took its toll on her. I heard from my father last weekend that she was heard saying that she wanted to go home,” Boykin said.

He added that Johnson did not think of her actions as extraordinary, but something that was possible for everyone.

“What she was doing … she believed that anyone could do, given the right circumstances and the right push. And that was the message she and the other women carried with them. Anybody can do what they can do. You just need to push,” Boykin said.

Formidable recognitions Johnson has received included having a NASA facility renamed in her honor, a local scholarship, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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