Francis “Frank” Wadsworth, 90

Fri, 08/21/2020 - 9:15am
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Capt. Francis (“Frank”) Laughlin Wadsworth, 90, a resident of Old Lyme, Conn., and Block Island, passed peacefully in New London, Conn. on Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020. A proud U.S. Navy submariner and a veteran of the Cold War, he was one of the early officers of the U.S. Navy’s nuclear submarine program. He served as a senior officer on several nuclear powered submarines, and he was the commander of both the USS Triton and the USS Theodore Roosevelt. He was also the commander of the U.S. Navy’s deep submersible program prior to his retirement. He was a recipient of the Legion of Merit along with numerous other U.S. Navy commendations.

Frank was born in Hartford, Conn. on April 7, 1930 to Robert and Frances Wadsworth. He attended and graduated from Kingswood School. After enlisting in the Naval Reserve at age 17, he was later selected for the NROTC program and completed one year at the University of Virginia before transferring to the U.S. Naval Academy where he graduated in the class of 1952.

Frank’s naval career spanned 30 years, including 19 years of duty at sea, 17 of those as a submariner, and six years leading strategic defense programs for the Navy in Washington, DC. As part of his submarine career, he participated in three historical under-ice expeditions in the Arctic, and as commander of USS Triton he received the Legion of Merit for a particularly successful operation.

Upon retirement from the Navy, Frank went on to a second career in the nuclear power industry as a consultant helping to improve the operations and safety of commercially operated US nuclear power plants.

Frank was a loyal sailor, a courageous leader, and a servant to our country. He was also a dedicated and loving husband and father. He married June Heard in Hartford, Conn., in 1958, and they raised three sons.

In his spare time, Frank was an avid outdoorsman, and he loved skiing, sailing and fishing as well as spending time with his wife and family at their home on Cormorant Point on Block Island. Frank could often be seen fishing from his kayak in Cormorant Cove and the channel breakwater or teaching his sons and grandchildren how to sail and fish throughout the waters of Block Island. He greatly enjoyed Thursday night sailing races on the Pond, the beautiful sunsets, chasing blues and stripers from the beach, kayak or boat, and caring for his family’s Block Island home.

Frank was also an active member of the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of Connecticut.

He is survived by his wife, June; his sons, Rob, Steve and Jay; their wives, Terry, Lora and Laura; his eight grandchildren; his two great-grandchildren; his niece Katherine St. Onge; and his nephew Patrick St. Lawrence. He was predeceased by his sister Betty St. Lawrence.

Capt. Wadsworth will be honored and celebrated in a service and burial at Arlington National Cemetery at a date to be determined.