Eight Bells for Frank Wyatt

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 had passed away 5 years earlier. He was born on April 27, 1931, to Frank and Harriet (Pike) on Glen Road in Portsmouth.

His early life was based on Aquidneck Island where he grew up on Vanicek Avenue in Middletown and went to Rogers High School where he was a terrific athlete. After graduation from high school, he went on to join the US Navy where he continued to play baseball as a catcher for the Lakehurst, New Jersey naval base team.

While in the Navy, Frank was trained in many fields including jet engine/aircraft maintenance as well as deep ocean diving. He was assigned to the aircraft carrier, Ticonderoga where he developed deep and long-lasting friendships. He used his Naval technical training to get an aircraft engineering degree from 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 his senior year.

After an honorable discharge from the Navy, Frank returned to Newport to work at NUWC as an oceanographer/ ocean engineer and diving supervisor. He subsequently earned a marine biology degree from Roger Williams University. The “salt life” became his passion and career. His jobs at NUWC were various but his main task was installing underwater tracking ranges in all the oceans of the world to track submarines and torpedoes. One of his assignments was at the NATO Oceanographic Lab in Italy conducting studies where he worked aboard Italian, German, French and Spanish oceanographic ships travelling around the world. Of particular note, Frank coordinated the first ever civilian training program with the Navy, for civilians to dive and train with the Navy Seals in Coronado, CA. 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 to SAIC in Newport conducting deep sea cable laying in various parts of the world including the Bahamas. He also designed the installations of deep-sea moorings and helped the Taiwanese Navy with side scan sonar operations. Finally, he worked in the Gulf of Mexico studying oil drilling platforms for Mobil Oil corp.

He loved to sail his beloved Ensign called the “Lone Eagle” moored off the Newport Yacht Club where he was a proud lifetime member since 1945. Through the years, he participated in large boat racing as well as racing the Ensign class. In his retirement, he volunteered at IYRS in the boat building field and subsequently volunteered his services at the Glen Manor House in Portsmouth.

He also developed a passion for wood working, making “Half Hulls” which many friends and family adorn on their walls. For years during the summer, he could be found with Evelyn and friends at Third Beach every day at 3 PM Or you could find him at the Newport Athletic Club–for which he said he was working out but for years we think it was just to have a cup of coffee with friends.

Frank was full of energy and was adventurous. Frank and Evelyn spent many years travelling internationally and domestically. They would go on snow skiing trips to Europe/South America or travelling in the US skiing in Colorado with close friends. For many years he enjoyed winter escapes in a cabin in New Hampshire where he would wake up every 30 minutes to ensure 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 enjoyed life and tried to make the most of every day of the year by waking up at 4:30am and doing more things by noon than most would do in a day. Frank loved all sports including Boston sports, particularly the Red Sox and his idol Ted Williams. He loved watching his grandchildren’s sporting events as well as his sons and daughters. He was immensely proud of every one of them.
He leaves behind his four children Nancy, Tom, Steve (Karen) and Suzanne along with seven grandchildren: Benjamin, Molly, Zachary, Caroline, Ellie, Luke, and Alexandra. He also leaves his companion Barbara.

Frank treated everyone he met as a true friend. He never knew a stranger. He will be sorely missed by his many friends and especially his loving family.