Lawrence W. Gribbin ’56
SOUTH PORTLAND—Lawrence Wesley Gribbin, 84, passed away December 13, 2019. He was born January 9, 1935, in Portland, to Howard and Ruth (Stormes) Gribbin. He grew up in South Portland and attended local schools. He graduated from South Portland High School in 1953 where he ran track and played drums in the band. He attended Maine Maritime Academy graduating in 1956 with a degree in Engineering and a US Coast License as Third Engineer.
Upon graduating from the academy with a commission as Ensign, Larry joined the Navy. He served in the capacity of Engineering Officer on both the USS Cook and the USS Boxer. He was assigned to the Airwing while on the Boxer. Upon leaving the Navy, he returned home and met his future wife, Mildred Hunnewell, of Portland. They married, had a son (Howard), and spent 45 years together before Millie’s sudden passing in 2003. Larry lived in the same neighborhood he grew up in all his life. Larry and his son became very close in later years, with Howard serving as Larry’s caregiver in his final years.
Larry spent most of his 35 years at sea with American Export Lines, sailing all over the world. In the mid 60’s, he was chosen to train in the operation of the first U.S. nuclear powered commercial merchant vessel, the NS Savannah. He and Millie moved to Galveston, TX, for training. He quickly rose to the rank of Senior Reactor Operator on board. He remained on her until environmental and geo-political pressure forced the ship to be laid up in 1971. He then sailed on Bath built container ships as Chief Engineer for both AEL and Farrell Lines until retirement in the early 90’s.
While on the Savannah, Larry became interested in electronics. Retirement found him puttering in his basement shop with myriad diagnostic instruments, repairing relatives’ and friends’ televisions. He finally opened his own business, Farrell Electronics. He still fixed televisions, tape recorders, you name it, for free. He was that kind of man.
Larry was also a fiction writer, having had three novels published. He spent time hunting and fishing with good friends and classmates from MMA, Herb Phelps and Scotty Hydes, both also Savannah alums.
He was predeceased by his parents, and wife, Mildred. He is survived by his son, Howard Gribbin and daughter-in-law, Sarah Gribbin.
Visitation will be at Hobbs Funeral Home, South Portland, on Friday December 20, 2019, from 4:00-7:00 p.m.