Thomas J. "Sailor" Doyle had to take some ribbing for serving aboard a wooden minesweeper during the Korean War.
But he didn't mind. He knew that the sturdy 136-foot ships, known simply as the "YMS," served a vital role in keeping the coastal waters clear of mines in whatever theater they operated.
Tom, a Marine at the end of World War II who then served 16 years in the Navy, an active member of veterans organizations who enjoyed playing Santa Claus for an annual VFW Christmas party, died Tuesday. He was 78 and lived in Ridley Park.
He was born in the Bronx, and entered the Marine Corps in 1945. He served with the 1st Marine Division as World War II was ending.
He enlisted in the Navy in 1950 and served until 1966. In addition to the YMS, he served as a bosun's mate on the attack transport USS Telfair during the Korean War.
Tom settled in Chester after his Navy service, and worked for the A.J. West Co. and Teledyne Corp. in Chester before his retirement.
He was a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1521 in Chester; the American Legion posts in Newtown Square, Crum Lynne and Morton; and other veterans organizations.
He is survived by his wife, the former Roseanne Huhn; two daughters, Mary Fields and Kathleen Thomas; stepchildren Christopher, Kevin and Robert Zurlo, and Kimberly Zagami; a sister, Maureen Wilson; and 15 grandchildren.