Lyle Francis Whitson (1922 - 2019)

  • "Beautiful obituary. Uncle Lyle led a full life and served..."
    - Roxanne Frey
  • "Another from the 'Greatest Generation' in God's care. Thank..."
  • "Will miss talking with you. Happy to have met you."
    - mark richardson
  • "My condolences to all of you on the loss of your father,..."
    - Janet Lund (Frost)
  • "Thank you for your service to our country. Rest In Peace."
Service Information
Celebration of Life
Saturday, Sep. 14, 2019
11:00 AM
West Gorham Union Church
190 Ossipee Trail
Gorham, ME
View Map

WINDHAM - Lyle Francis Whitson, 96, was born Dec. 16, 1922, in Rushville, Ill., and passed away on Aug. 29, 2019, in Portland, Maine.

Lyle Francis Whitson was an extraordinary man living in extraordinary times. Born on a farm in Rushville, Illinois to Myrtle and Guy Whitson, he was the second of 11 children. Only 7-years-old at the onset of the Great Depression, he labored in the fields to contribute to the family income. He attended the local school house, and Carthage High becoming a star football player, igniting his life-long passion for sports. In his later years, he would win the Silver Gloves in the Navy boxing competitions.

As the depression continued, he became a member of the Civilian Conservation Corps, contributing to the legacy of roads and bridges built as a result of this New Deal program of the Great Depression. At the age of eighteen he enlisted in the United States Navy, and became one of the youngest chiefs in the Navy and served our country for 22 years.

A self-taught and brilliant engineer, he was selected for and attended a nuclear energy course taught by Albert Einstein. With one of the top 100 highest IQs in his basic training class, he was selected to attend sheet metal training at Ford Motor where he developed a friendship with Henry Ford, the founder of the automobile industry.

He manned the engines of the great U.S. Navy ships during World War II and beyond. Exploring the most remote locations of the world, stoking the engines of ice breakers, meeting the fiercest weather conditions at the North and South Poles.

Lyle served faithfully on the U.S.S. MacWorth, U.S.S. Denabola, U.S.S. Staten Island, U.S.S. Glennon, U.S.S. Leary and his final duty was served on the U.S.S. Pawcatuck. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Lyle was stationed in Portland, Maine, where his duties included arming Navy ships with the ammunition they needed to go into battle. However, one of his greatest legacies was training young engine room recruits with the skills and professionalism that would carry them a lifetime.

After his retirement from the Navy, he settled in Portland, Maine, with his wife, Lorraine (Lenning) and his five children. Continuing his career in engineering at a variety of companies in the Greater Portland area and his legacy of mentoring and training young workers. He was a go-to refrigeration man for many of the Old Port restaurants.

He loved his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, rooting them on in sports, never missing a game. He coached and umpired their sports teams. Delighting them with the creation of the "Hoobley-Doobley", a three-wheel vehicle created by merging a motorcycle and back-end of a car.

Lyle was predeceased by his son, Donald Whitson and is survived by his children, Robert Whitson, Sandra Gora, Kathleen Delcourt, Wanda Whitson; 12 grandchildren, and 21 great-grandchildren.

A celebration of Lyle's life will be held September 14, at the West Gorham Union Church, 190 Ossipee Trail, Gorham, Maine, at 11 a.m.

Please visit to view Lyle's tribute page and to sign his online guestbook.

Memorial contributions may be made to

Veteran's Count.

Easter Seals Maine

Attn: Veteran's Count

125 Presumpscot St.

Portland, ME 04103

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Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on Sept. 9, 2019
bullet U.S. Navy bullet World War II
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