Thompson A. Dodd, 84, a retired accountant, died of complications of dementia Thursday at the Veterans Affairs Nursing Home Care Unit in Philadelphia.
Mr. Dodd graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in Camden. During World War II, he served as a Navy signalman on the destroyer Overton in the Pacific. The ship participated in action in the Tinian, Iwo Jima and Okinawa areas, and he earned eight battle stars.
Mr. Dodd witnessed ships exploding from enemy fire and kamikaze strikes, and saw body parts floating in the water, his daughter Janice Ward, an Inquirer copy editor, said.
He planned to make the Navy his career, Ward said, but in 1946 doctors diagnosed battle fatigue, now known as post-traumatic stress syndrome. While being treated at a naval hospital in Texas, Mr. Dodd began to correspond with his future wife, Norma Ryrie, who had been writing to hospitalized veterans.
After several months of treatment, he received an honorable discharge and returned to Camden. He worked for the Postal Service and graduated from Peirce Business School in Philadelphia. From 1951 until retiring in 1986, he was an accountant for Breyers Ice Cream in Philadelphia.
Some symptoms of battle fatigue continued after the war, Ward said, but thanks to regular medical treatment from the VA, he was able to work and maintain a stable family life. He was never bitter or disillusioned about the military, she said, because he felt he was living proof that it took care of its own.
He was active with the Disabled American Veterans and enjoyed reunions with his shipmates.
In addition to his wife of 58 years and daughter, Mr. Dodd is survived by another daughter, Linda, and two grandchildren.