Navy veteran Francis Gould “Frank” Wyatt Jr. of Portsmouth dies at 90

Monday July 19, 2021

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Francis “Frank” Gould Wyatt Jr, 90, passed away peacefully at his home in Portsmouth, Rhode Island on July 18, 2021. His family was lovingly by his side. He now joins his late wife of 60 years Evelyn (Burns) who died 5 years earlier. He was born April 27, 1931 to Frank and Harriet (Pike) on Glen Road in Portsmouth.

His childhood was based on Aquidneck Island where he grew up on Vanicek Avenue in Middletown and attended Rogers High School where he was a formidable athlete. After graduating from high school, he joined the US Navy where he continued to play baseball as a catcher for the Lakehurst Naval Base team in New Jersey.

While in the Navy, Frank was trained in many areas including jet engine / aircraft maintenance as well as deep sea diving. He was posted to the aircraft carrier Ticonderoga where he developed friendships. deep and lasting. He used his naval engineering training to earn an aeronautical engineering degree from the Wentworth Institute in Boston, MA. He excelled at Wentworth academically and athletically. Among many other academic / athletic honors, he received the MVP award for basketball in his senior year. After an honorable release from the Navy, Frank returned to Newport to work at the NUWC as an oceanographer / ocean engineer and dive supervisor. He then obtained a degree in marine biology from Roger Williams University. The “salty life” became his passion and his career. His jobs at the NUWC were varied, but his main task was to set up underwater research fields in all the oceans of the world to track submarines and torpedoes. One of his assignments was at the NATO Oceanographic Laboratory in Italy, where he conducted studies where he worked aboard Italian, German, French and Spanish oceanographic vessels traveling around the world. Of particular note is that Frank coordinated the very first civilian training program with the Navy, for civilians to dive and train with the Navy Seals in Coronado, California. The first civilian team included Frank, Robert Morton, Al Massey, Jerry Cook and Kim Crocker. In 1988 Frank retired from NUWC and was employed as a consultant for SAIC in Newport laying cables on the high seas in various parts of the world including the Bahamas. He also designed the offshore mooring facilities and assisted the Taiwanese Navy in side scan sonar operations. Finally, he worked in the Gulf of Mexico studying oil rigs for Mobil Oil Corp.

He enjoyed sailing his beloved Ensign called “Lone Eagle” moored off the Newport Yacht Club of which he had been a proud life member since 1945. Over the years he competed in big boat races as well as Ensign class races. Upon retirement, he volunteered at IYRS in the field of boat building and subsequently offered his services to Glen Manor House in Portsmouth. He also developed a passion for woodworking, making “half-shells” that many friends and family adorn on their walls. For years during the summer, he could be found with Evelyn and her friends at Third Beach every day at 3 p.m. Or you could find him at the Newport Athletic Club – which he said he trained for but for years we thought it was just having coffee with friends.

Frank was full of energy and was adventurous. Frank and Evelyn have spent many years traveling internationally and nationally. They would go on a ski trip to Europe / South America or travel to USA skiing Colorado with close friends. For many years, he enjoyed winter getaways to a New Hampshire cabin where he woke up every 30 minutes to make sure the woodstove had plenty of wood. Nothing made him smile more than when his family was with him, much to the chagrin of his family who endured freezing temperatures on the ski slopes because he wanted us to ski with him!

He loved life and tried to make the most of every day of the year by waking up at 4.30am and doing more things at noon than most would in a day. Frank loved all sports, including Boston sports, especially the Red Sox and his idol Ted Williams. He enjoyed watching the sporting events of his grandchildren as well as his sons and daughters. He was immensely proud of each of them.

He is survived by his four children Nancy, Tom, Steve (Karen) and Suzanne as well as seven grandchildren: Benjamin, Molly, Zachary, Caroline, Ellie, Luke and Alexandra. He also leaves his partner Barbara.

Frank treated everyone he met like real friends. He has never known a foreigner. He will be sadly missed by his many friends and especially his loving family.

Call hours will be Thursday, July 22 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the O’Neill-Hayes Funeral Home, 465 Spring Street, Newport.

A Christian funeral mass will be held on Friday July 23 at St. Mary’s Church, Spring St, Newport at 10:00 am.

Interment will be private.

In lieu of flowers, the family would like any donation to go to IYRS (International Yacht Restoration School) or Beacon Hospice Care, 1130 Ten Rod Rd Suite A205, North Kingstown, RI 02852.

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