Nashua, NH — Vernon Q. Mitchell, 84, formerly of Plaistow and Atkinson, died recently at his home in Nashua.
Born on June 1, 1929, in Sacramento, Calif., he was the son of Helen G. Lehr and Hazen Q. Mitchell, both of whom predeceased him. He was the stepson of John Lehr, who also predeceased him.
Mr. Mitchell was a Master Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, serving from 1947 to 1967. He served on several naval vessels, most notable was nation’s first nuclear submarine, the USS Nautilus. He was chief of the boat, “COB,” on that submarine. He also served during the Korean War.
Mr. Mitchell was honored by the Navy for saving a submarine and its crew, after the vessel developed mechanical problems and sank deep into the ocean. He was credited with making critical decisions that allowed the submarine to begin operating properly and return to the surface. With his death, he joins his fellow Nautilus crew members, who have also passed and are known among Nautilus alumni as being on “eternal patrol.”
He was a member of the American Legion for more than 25 years. He was also a member of the USS Nautilus Alumni Association.
Mr. Mitchell spent much of his youth in St. Louis, where he attended high school before joining the Navy. He was an avid baseball fan, and watched enthusiastically in 1944 as the St. Louis Cardinals and St. Louis Browns met in the World Series. While in the Navy, he learned how to operate Ham radios, and adopted that activity as a hobby after his retirement from military service.
After retiring from the Navy, Mr. Mitchell worked for Raytheon in Rhode Island, before moving his family to Southern New Hampshire. There, he worked for Sanders Associates, before that company became BAE Systems, and where he continued to work before retiring at the age of 83, after 43 years of service.