By Jim Johnson

John Glenn, who is in the history books as both the first American to orbit the earth and the oldest man in space, died Thursday at age 95.

Glenn, a groundbreaking aviator for nearly a half-century, flew 149 combat missions in World War 2 and Korea before joining the space program in the late 1950s. He became the first American to orbit the earth in an early spacecraft back in 1962, and went on to command more successful missions before retiring for a career in politics — in which he served 24 years as a Democratic senator in his native Ohio.

He remained active after leaving Washington, running a successful hotel business and, in 1998, becoming the oldest man in space as a member of the seven-astronaut crew of the shuttle Discovery. One of his last public appearances came this past June, when he spoke at a ceremony renaming the Columbus airport in his honor.

John Glenn is survived by Annie, his wife of 73 years, one son and one daughter. (Columbus Dispatch)

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