Posted by: Bonnie Phelps | September 21, 2013

2200 Rare Books on Space donated to Cal Tech

Ginny Moats

Recently we had the opportunity to visit a dear friend who will be celebrating 101 years of life October 3rd, 2013. Ginny Moats was born the year the Titanic sank, the Oreo cookie was introduced, and when gas went up to 4 cents a gallon!

One of the highlights of her life has ties to Palomar, and I thought some of you might find it interesting too.

Ginny married attorney Alvin W. Kunke in 1935, and they moved to Altadena, CA in 1942. He had a great interest in space and collected rare space books in his travels around the world. Many had been autographed by the authors. He spoke and wrote German, and corresponded with the German Scientists at NASA, including Wernher von Braun and Hermann Oberth.
Ginny told us that after her husband passed away in 1966, his collection of 2200 books were donated to Cal Tech, and became the nucleus of their space library in Pasadena.
She said, “You read a Jules Verne book and you can’t help but be intrigued by the world of space.”

Ginny also told of moving to La Jolla where she meet the second love of her life, Wendell Moats, and they married in 1971. On their way to honeymooning in Europe, they stopped off in Washington DC to visit friends and dine with the von Brauns.

Then, Ginny looked wistfully out the window and said, “I wonder when I stopped wanting to be older…”

Last year we had the privilege of being invited to her 100th Birthday. It was quite the affair, hosted by Biola University. To take a peek at Ginny’s 100th Celebration of Life, simply click. A very special lady with such an interesting life, and an inspiration to all who have had the opportunity to meet her.

Bonnie Phelps


  1. Ginny and I share a birthday. Please wish her a Very Happy 101st for me. (she must be a very nice person. Ha!)


    Palomar Mounta

  2. Bonnie, you do such a good job with the Palomar Mountain News. I do truly enjoy your articles. I don’t know you well, but I appreciate you much.

    Betty Birdsell


  3. What a thriving inspiration for us all . . . such a lovely soul! And the pictures of her 100th birthday gala were filled with music, food, and tons of love.

    After sharing time with this sweet, strong soul this past week, you must be flying high!

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