Captain Philip Furst Carothers Jr., USN, 81
Captain Philip Furst Carothers Jr., USN, 81, a career Naval Officer with 30 years of active service, died Nov. 10, 2011, at Virginia Mason Hospital, Seattle, Wash.
He was born Feb. 3, 1930, in Somerset, a son of Philip Furst and Ruth (Goodwin) Carothers.
Captain Carothers' family moved to Cedar Springs, Lamar Township, in 1938, where he attended the local schools and graduated from Lock Haven High School, where he was named "Top Scholar" and awarded Clinton County's State Scholarship in 1948.
He went on to Penn State University under a full U.S. Navy Scholarship and received a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering in 1952.
After a year of post-graduate studies at Penn State, Captain Carothers' was commissioned Ensign, USN, Unrestricted Line Officer, and entered active duty in 1953. While serving in the Navy, he received his master of science degree in mechanical engineering from the U.S. Naval Post Graduate School and later received his MBA from Harvard University.
Captain Carothers had a distinguished Naval career, starting with his first assignment as the assistant engineering officer on the USS John S. McCain, one of the most advanced Naval vessels of that time, until his retirement in 1984.
A firm advocate of education, he taught marine engineering to Naval officer candidates at Tulane University from 1956-1958 and later served for three years at the elite U.S. Naval Post-graduate School, Monterey, Calif., where he developed the mechanical engineering and engineering science curricula at all academic levels through doctor of philosophy and supervised student officers in these programs. His responsibilities also included the review of all engineering curricula taught at the U.S. Naval Academy.
Captain Carothers' 30-year career included service around the globe as a shipboard officer and at shore-based operations. Following sea duty aboard the USS McCain, he was the repair officer at the Boston Naval Shipyard, responsible for overhaul of guided missile ships and the conversion of the USS Albany to the US Navy's first guided missile cruiser. Continuing duties included service as the repair officer, USS Grand Canyon, then deployment as the sole maintenance asset for the entire U.S. Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean. He went on to serve as repair officer, U.S. Naval Repair Facility, Yokoska, Japan, responsible for repair and overhaul of ships for the US Seventh Fleet.
As a staff officer with the commander-in-chief U.S. Pacific Fleet, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Captain Carothers was responsible for the overhaul and alteration of all Pacific Fleet ships and for the management of U.S. Ship Repair Facilities in the Pacific Fleet areas of operation. This also included setting up repair facilities for river gunboats in remote areas of Vietnam under wartime conditions and instructing personnel in their operation.
From 1975-1979, Captain Carothers served as production officer, Long Beach, Calif., Naval Shipyard, and in 1979-1981, U.S. Fleet Maintenance Officer, Naples, Italy, in charge of repair and maintenance of all Sixth Fleet ships and ships of the Middle East Force.
During this period, Captain Carothers also developed maintenance capability for all U.S. Military ships in the Persian Gulf and African East Coast areas. From 1981-1984, he was the commanding officer, supervisor of shipbuilding, conversion and repair, Seattle. There, as head of shipbuilding in the Pacific Northwest, he supervised the construction and overhaul of ships for the U.S. Navy, research vessels for the Military Sea Command, frigates for the Royal Australian Navy and patrol gunboats for the Royal Saudi Navy.
Captain Carothers' military honors and awards include the Meritorious Service Medal with Gold Star; Navy Commendation Medal with Gold Star; Meritorious Unit Commendation; the Vietnamese Navy Honor Service Medal; the Republic of Vietnam Unit Citation with Palm; National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Starr; and Vietnam Service Medal with two Bronze Stars.
Following his retirement from Naval Service in 1984, Captain Carothers and his wife, Nancy, made their home in Kenmore, Wash., near Seattle, where he was active in the community as a board member of the Kenmore Community Club and a charter member of "Arts of Kenmore," which sponsors art shows and provides grants for school projects.
He was also a board member and vice-president of Northlake Lutheran Church Council, where he was most dedicated to the church stewardship.
Captain Carothers is fondly remembered in the Kenmore area for his generosity and kindness, whether it was fixing a mechanical problem for a neighbor, setting up and hosting an art exhibit or providing lodging for a student — he was there.
He had diverse interests and continued a vigorous life during retirement. He was a Penn State Pioneer and life member of the Alumni Association; a licensed pilot; Registered Professional Engineer; a gifted mechanic; cabinet maker and Navy qualified deep sea diver. He enjoyed biking, camping and travel, visiting friends and family here, in European countries and Canada.
Captain Carothers' favorite vacations were touring in Italy, France and Scotland and exploring the canals of England and Wales on canal boats that he piloted. A practical engineer, he said, "The most beautiful inventions in the world are the steam engine, the bicycle and the automobile." He restored a 1930 Model A Ford, because that was the year he was born, then drove it from Seattle to Cape Cod and back. Then he restored a 1952 MG (his year of college graduation) and repeated the journey. He liked to remind us that, "Life is a grand adventure."
He is survived by his wife, Nancy (Cross) Carothers of Kenmore, and three daughters, Dr. Karen Carothers-Eppley and husband Dr. Robert Eppley of Orinda, Calif., and their children, Sarah, Emma and Robert; Barbara O'Brien and husband Martin of San Diego, Calif., and children, Philip, Joshua and Carolyn Sheline and Conor and Keeley O'Brien; Susan Alfaro of Carmel, Calif., and her daughters, Natalie, at home, and Vanessa and her husband, Brian Koelling of Foster City, Calif., and their son Tyler, a godson, LCDR Dai Wessman, Md.; an adopted son, Thang Chung of California; three nieces, Mary Carothers-Johnson and husband Stephen Andrew Johnson of Louisville, Ky., Nancy Buscemi and husband Philip of Oak Hill, Va., and their sons, Alex and Stephen, and Nancy Charlebois and husband John of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, and their sons, Bowmen and Hudson; two nephews, John Carothers and wife Susan of Meadow Bridge, W.Va., and their daughter, Emily, and Peter (Chip) MacElhiney and wife Maggie of Longmeadow, Mass., and their children, Megan and Charlie; a sister-in-law, Susan MacElhiney and husband Peter of Longmeadow, Mass.; and a brother, Frederick Carothers and wife Ann of Big Run.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a daughter, Lynn Ann; and a nephew, Thomas Carothers.
A memorial service with military honors will be held at 11:30 a.m. Friday, May 12, 2012, at the Cedar Hill Cemetery, Cedar Springs (Lamar Township). The Rev. Dr. Robert Wessman will conduct the committal service, and Janet Loewen will sing The Navy Hymn.
Arrangements are under the direction of Dean K. Wetzler Funeral Home, Mill Hall.
Following the service, there will be a luncheon at the Brethren In Christ Church, Mill Hall.
Gifts of remembrance may be made in Captain Carothers' name to the Northlake Lutheran Church, P.O. Box 82603, Kenmore, Wash. 98028.