Cmdr. Theodore W. Manduca USN(Ret.) ’52

Theodore William Manduca, 90, of Old Orchard Beach died peacefully in his sleep on Friday, December 31, 2021, at his residence, following a lengthy illness and a period of declining health.

Ted was born in Biddeford on April 23, 1931, son of S. Theodore and Mary (Hoctor) Manduca. He attended Old Orchard Beach High School (class of 1949), where he played football and ran track. He continued on to Maine Maritime Academy (class of 1952), graduating with a degree in marine engineering and a commission in the US Navy. He later acquired a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Maryland, and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Oklahoma.

He married Parnell Crook of Edmundston, New Brunswick, on September 20, 1952, and they had one son, Mark Manduca. Parnell passed away in 1986.

Ted had a 25 year Naval career aboard many different ships either as a chief engineer or a combat operations officer. In 1966 he became the operations officer for the battle cruiser USS Canberra (CAG-2), and served two tours of duty in Vietnam directing fire missions. He acquitted himself with great skill but deplored the violence. In 1968 he became chief of staff for the Fleet Training Group in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. In 1970 he became commanding officer of the USS Aeolus (ARC-3), an underwater cable laying ship. He told many tales of playing cat-and-mouse with Soviet ships during the Cold War. In 1972 he was assigned to the National Military Command Center in the Pentagon, where he briefed the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of Defense on world events. He concluded his career as a senior analyst in the Defense Nuclear Agency in Washington, retiring in 1977, and returning home to Old Orchard Beach.

He began a second career as a marine science teacher at Southern Maine Technical College (now SMCC). An excellent teacher, he guided many students to solid and lucrative careers in the shipping industry. He retired from there in 1995.

In 1997 he remarried to Patricia Gillis, and together they enjoyed many summers at the beach and many travels around the U.S. and the world.

Ted was a man of many interests, particularly music. A lifelong trombone player, he was a charter member of the Italian Heritage Concert Band, a long-time member of the Alumni Band, and for a number of years lead his own Ted Manduca Orchestra, a swing era big band that played many dances and functions around the state. He also was a long tenured member of the Downeasters Barbershop Chorus.

A passionate do-it-yourselfer, Ted could always be found working on many home improvement projects around his home. He was extremely crafty and creative, and nothing ever went to waste! His signature project, completed while in his eighties, is a lovely solarium that he added to the seaward side of his home. He was a seafaring man from a seafaring state and he loved being by the ocean.

He was pre-deceased by his brother Bill Manduca. He is survived by his wife Patricia, his brother Frank Manduca of Old Orchard, his sister Beth Conley of New Bern, North Carolina, his son Mark (Elizabeth) of Portland, granddaughters Maria Salamone (Nick) of Northwood, NH, and Diana Manduca of Westbrook, step-children Sharon (Vince) Cardella of Coquitlam, British Columbia, Barry Gillis of Kelowna, British Columbia, Allison (Ken) Nott of Oakville, Ontario, Bryan (Fatima) Gillis of Toronto, Ontario, and Victoria (Stefan) Gillis of Montreal, Quebec, plus many nieces, nephews, cousins, and great-grandson Rocco!

No services are being scheduled at this time. Family and friends will gather in the summer for a graveside service and fellowship. Burial will take place at Laurel Hill Cemetery in Saco, Maine.