Geraldine Fluke inducted to Hall of Fame
Published: Thursday, September 23rd, 2010
Geraldean Fluke loves a challenge. In her line of work, she has had plenty.
Despite spending the vast majority of her life working on rocket engines, nuclear reactors and teaching, perhaps her biggest challenge came not long ago when she learned she was being inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame.
That challenge? Understanding how and why she was being inducted.
“I was dumbfounded,” Fluke said. “I didn’t have any inkling. I don’t feel worthy, but anyway, I’m there.”
If there were a hall of fame for modesty Fluke would be inducted into it as well, as her career achievements make her more than worthy to be a member of South Dakota’s Hall of Fame. Her list of career accomplishments spans back over 60 years, beginning when she became at the time only the seventh woman to graduate from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology.
Fluke, who was born in Winner in 1926 and grew up in Deerfield, worked for a year as a country school teacher after graduating from Rapid City High School. After she saved enough money she enrolled at Tech and eventually graduated with a degree in physics in 1948. Even as a young girl, Fluke said math and science were a passion, a passion she maintains to this day.
“I like the skills. It’s a real challenge,” she said. “It’s very precise and it’s definite. I could always do it and I loved it.”
Fluke’s jobs in aerospace and engineering have taken her all over the country. In Hanford, Wash., she was employed by General Electric, working for a research group on fuel moderators in nuclear reactors. She has worked for Boeing in Seattle doing analysis work on dynamic heating, and has also worked in California for Aerojet General Corp.
Among the stops in her career was Ann Arbor, Mich., where she earned her master’s degree in physics from the University of Michigan, and also met her husband, Gordon.
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