Lansing A. Viccellio Formerly of Green Bay Dies January 3

Published 3:34 pm Friday, August 6, 2010

MARYLAND, Jan. 14 – Lansing Averett Viccellio was born in Chatham on May 6, 1918, the third of four sons to the loving family of Minnie Hodges Viccellio and Henry Viccellio. By the time he was 12 years old, he was orphaned and sent with his younger brother Arthur to live with their aunt and uncle, Stephanie and Lucas Hodges. After the death of his uncle, Lansing went to live with the Green Bay High School English teacher “Miss Mamie” Pulley and her husband, Watkins Pulley, on their farm near Green Bay. In exchange for his help on the farm, he received room and board. It was at Green Bay High School where he first met and dated Phyllis Grim, his future bride.

When he graduated from high school in 1936, he enlisted in the United States Navy as a seaman and began a 22-year naval career before retiring in 1958 as a Lieutenant Commander. Since he was under 18 years of age when he enlisted, he asked his aunt to adopt him and be his sponsor. Throughout his career, he completed numerous technical courses, specializing in radio, electronics, sonar, radar, and special weapons.

In 1937-41, he served on the destroyer USS Dewey, in the Pacific Fleet, and spent 10 months at Pearl Harbor. Three months prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor, he was stationed in Washington, D.C., in electronics school. From 1942 to1944 he helped commission the destroyer USS Knight and served as an electronics technician and radioman on board, then as the electronics officer, supporting multiple convoys of troops across the Atlantic Ocean for the invasion and occupation of North Africa, Sicily, and Italy. During this time he crossed the Atlantic over 20 times. After the European campaign came to a close, he reported for duty in the Pacific, helping to commission the destroyer USS Frank Knox, and becoming the picket ship's electronics officer, providing protection for the Third Fleet from attack by enemy aircraft and eventually providing protection during the signing of the surrender at Tokyo Bay.

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Throughout the war Lansing and Phyllis corresponded, and they dated while he was on leave, On May 11, 1946, they married; and two years later their daughter Phyllis Lee was born. He was a loving husband and father, spending as much time as he could with his family. When given shore duty, he was stationed at various locations throughout the United States, such as Portsmouth and Norfolk; Albuquerque, New Mexico; South Bend, Indiana; and Great Lakes, Illinois. His family, Phyllis and Lee, moved with him, providing a supportive and loving home wherever he was stationed.

After the war, he taught classes in Theory, Operations, and Maintenance of Search Radar for more than two years at the Service School Command in Norfolk. He then served as electronics officer aboard the light cruiser USS Huntington and as electronics officer on the heavy cruiser USS Randolph Macon in the Atlantic Fleet. He then became a missile officer with the Navy's TALOS Missile Unit at Bendix, in Mishawaka, Indiana. When stationed in Japan for in 1953 for 15 months, he served as the electronics and communications officer with the Fleet Training Group, Western Pacific, with responsibilities for all electronics, radio, sonar, communications, and shipboard training for ships in the Western Pacific. In 1955 he was division officer of the special weapons team deployed on the carrier USS Ticonderoga, with responsibilities for all aspects of special weapons up to launch. After serving on the Ticonderoga, he was assigned to the Bureau of Ordnance in Washington, DC, where he was involved in guided missile development as the Assistant TALOS Missile Project Officer.

During his naval career, he was awarded numerous medals, including the American Defense Service Medal; American Campaign Medal; Victory Medal, WWII; National Defense Service Medal; European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal; United Nations Service Medal; Navy Good Conduct Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, Korean Service Medal; and Navy Occupation Medal.

He retired from the Navy on December 31, 1958 and moved with his family to Silver Spring, Maryland. In January of 1959, he was employed by Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) where he began a 22-year career as a senior engineer in support of guided missile testing and satellite development. He directed an electronics package inter-changeability and compatibility test at White Sands Missile Range which proved that electronic assemblies from different missiles could be interchanged randomly. Subsequently, he served as lead engineer on a Daily Systems Operability Test Program, which established norms of expected performance for a fire control radar system. His duties also included engineering program planning, co-ordination, administration, and liaison, monitoring technical progress as well as expenditures. During the reorganization of the Space Division in August of 1964, he took charge of Budget and Fiscal operations within the Space Division Program Planning Office, with responsibilities to the department program manager for all aspects of fiscal planning and control of all Space Department programs. He also served as Program Administrator on many programs, such as the GPSPAC, Hydrogen Maser, SATRACK, NAVPAC, and Doppler Beacons. On December 31, 1980, he re-tired from APL.

Throughout his career at APL and during his retirement, he and Phyllis were loyal members of Shepherd Park Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), where he served in such leader-ship roles as Chi Rho and CYF coleader with his wife, Deacon and Elder Chair, Membership Chair, Property Chair, and Board Vice Chair. During his 22 years at APL, he enjoyed participating in the golf league and took second place in one tournament and first place in an-other. He was an avid hunter, gardener, and reader; and he also enjoyed traveling the United States with his family on several summer trips across country, including a trip to Alaska.

On Sunday, January 3, 2010, Lansing Averett Viccellio passed away. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 59 years, Phyllis Grim Viccellio, on June 26, 2005. He is survived by his treasured daughter, Dr. Phyllis Lee Viccellio; his cherished brother-in-law, Wellford Garland Goode and sister-in-law, Edith Robertson Viccellio; his devoted nephews and nieces, General Henry Viccellio Jr. (re-tired USAF), John Arthur Viccellio, Judith Viccellio Furler, Vicki Viccellio Braun, Garland Goode Steigelman, and Suzanne Bolling Goode; his dear great-nieces and nephews and their children; and other dear relatives, the Shepherd Park Christian Church family, and friends. They will truly miss the strength, perseverance, courage, and love that he brought to their lives.

On Friday, January 8, a gathering with the family was held at HINES-RINALDI FUNERAL HOME, Silver Spring, MD.

On Saturday, January 9, 2010 funeral services were held at Shepherd Park Christian Church, Washington, D.C. Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors on Wednesday, February 3, at 9 a.m.

Contributions may be made to Shepherd Park Christian Church, 7900 Eastern Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20012.

Hines-Rinaldi Funeral Home, Inc., Maryland, served the family.