M. Scott Carpenter - Mercury astronaut, Naval aviator, SEALAB aquanaut, author - passed away on 10 October 2013 at the age of 88.
I met Mr. Carpenter in 1993 when I was working at Nintendo of America and we were launching Star Fox for the Super NES, or SNES in gamerspeak. I'm pretty sure the event was held at a Super Kmart in Cleveland, Ohio. I'll have to dig around through my archives to see if I have any papers relating to that event.
Mr. Carpenter and I shared a limo ride from the hotel to the Kmart. Even though its been 20 years since that day, I still remember it fairly well. Mr. Carpenter was personable, polite, friendly, and engaging. I asked him how he ended up promoting a video game, and his answer was something along the lines of "If it gets kids interested in space, then it's worth my time." I could tell he was truly passionate about getting the next generation of future astronauts started early, and if it took a space shooter console game, then so be it.
But Mr. Carpenter didn't want to spend the whole ride talking about himself or his interests. He wanted to talk about me. So we chatted about what I studied in college, sports, my family, things like that. He asked me if I was a football player or a wrestler, because he thought I was built like someone who played those sports (stocky and broad-shouldered). When I told him I was a soccer player (goalkeeper), he didn't change the subject or disparage my game, he wanted to talk more about it.
The ride ended way too soon, and I had a game to launch. One last memory was this one: the PR gals had some Star Fox posters, and they wanted us to sign them. Us, as in Scott Carpenter and yours truly. I protested, because no one wanted a poster signed by Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter and some dude from Nintendo. I was overruled, so my apologies to anyone out there who has one. They made me do it!
In addition to the achievements listed above, Scott Carpenter was also a nice, genuine person. I was fortunate to have met him, if only for a short time.