A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.
In May 1959, an attractive twenty-three-year-old air force nurse based at Patrick Air Force Base in Florida began work at her newly assigned job. At the end of a curious string of circumstances, Dee O’Hara unexpectedly found herself at the very heart of perhaps the greatest engineering endeavor ever undertaken, and doing what would come to be regarded as one of the most enviable jobs in the world. She had just become the nurse for America’s seven Mercury astronauts.
Dolores O’Hara was born on 9 August 1935 in the small town of Nampa, Idaho, some twelve miles west of the state capital of Boise. Although her parents, Edward and Genevieve, were born in the United States, in true Irish fashion they had simplified their names to Mick and Jennie. Likewise, their first son, William, would become Bill, while Dolores, born a year later, would assume the less cumbersome name of Dee.
Mick O’Hara could not find work in Nampa, so before Dee had even begun school the family relocated to San Francisco where her father had found a job with the Bethlehem Steel Company. Moving to a big city proved to be a mistake, and it was not long before O’Hara took his family north to the more familiar small-town environment of Crabtree, Oregon, where he had found employment with the local logging company. Dee attended grade school in Crabtree and high school in Albany, Oregon, for two years, and then transferred to nearby Lebanon High School for her junior and senior year.