The Rev. Loring P. Wilkins, 84, a retired Navy chaplain and Baptist minister, died of complications of diabetes May 16 at Elm Terrace Gardens, a retirement community in Lansdale, where he had lived for more than 20 years.
Mr. Wilkins grew up in Worcester, Mass. He earned a bachelor's degree from Gordon College in Wenham, Mass., where he met his future wife, Thelma Bentley. After graduating from Gordon Theological Seminary, he was a minister in Baptist churches in Maine, Vermont and Massachusetts.
In 1956, he began an 81/2-year stint in the Navy, serving as a chaplain on bases in California, Hawaii, Thailand, Guam and South Carolina. He was the first chaplain to be assigned to a submarine, said his daughter, Sharon Barone, and in 1967 he served aboard the USS Benjamin Franklin on a two-month tour in the Pacific. He continued to remain in the Naval Reserve until retiring as a lieutenant commander in 1974.
Following his active military duty, Mr. Wilkins was chaplain at Christ's Home for Children and Christ's Home Retirement Community in Warminster for 12 years. He then served as the first chaplain at Elm Terrace Gardens for several years.
A talented photographer, he chronicled his travels with the Navy and his vacations, his daughter said. He loved dogs, she said, especially Boston terriers.
Mr. Wilkins' wife of 63 years died in January. In addition to his daughter, he is survived by sons Tyler and Art; nine grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.