Francis D. Tyler Jr. – WWII Navy PBM Pilot 35mm Color Slide Collection

Mr. Francis Tyler in 1944

Sometimes a small bit of information can open up lead to a bonanza of research potential.  In this case, I was able to find a name associated with a recently acquired set of WWII 35mm color slides I won on eBay.  I was able to deduce from the collection that the original owner was a pilot with the VP-209, a patrol squadron that went on search and rescue and sub-finding missions in the Panama Zone.  Google led me to a website where old members of the unit have been posting reunion information with little snippits of their service history included.  With this in hand, I contacted the seller and discovered that a name on some of the other personal material from the estate is F. Tyler.  Low and behold, Mr. Tyler posted to the site back in 2003.
Here’s what Mr. Tyler had to say:

TYLER, Francis D. Jr. “…Francis D. Tyler, Jr. PE, PBM, Patrol Bomber Mariner (PBM) US Navy Pilot. First, I think I should tell you how I got in the Navy. Some of you also registered for that first draft, back in October of 1940. I have a brother, two years younger; his number was in the first 100, while mine was 8809. He was called up in February of 1941. Then by the time I was classified 1A, I had seen a friend home on leave in a sparkling white uniform with beautiful Gold Wings on his chest. I decided that was the part of the service that I wanted to serve in, so I enlisted. I finally got sworn in, on December 30, 1941, twenty-three days after Pearl Harbor. In March of 1942, I received orders to report to the Naval Air Station at Lake Pontchartrain, north of New Orleans, Louisiana. I had become a Naval Aviation Cadet. In June I was transferred to the NAS Pensacola, Florida. Six months later I was designated an Ensign and Naval Aviator. I was then assigned to the Transitional Training Facility at NAS Banana River, Florida. Here we were introduced to the plane we would fly, the PBM, Patrol Bomber Mariner, as designated by the Navy. The Squadron in which I flew was VPB-209 was commissioned on January 1, 1943 and a full compliment of 15 planes was reached in June of the same year….

With this in hand, I was able to track down an obituary for Mr. Tyler:

Monday, December 31, 2007

FRANCIS D. TYLER JR., 90, of Lancaster, Mass., formerly of the RED BANK area, a professional engineer and World War II veteran, died Monday, Dec. 31, at the Jewish Healthcare Center in Worcester, Mass. Francis was born in Bellevue, Pa., to the late Dr. Francis D. Tyler and Marie Trimble Tyler.

He was raised in Jamestown, N.Y., and Jesuit-educated. Mr. Tyler graduated from Campion in Praire du Chein, Wis., and Marquette University. He served in the U.S. Navy as a PBM pilot during World War II, after which he returned to graduate school at Carolina State University, earning a degree in civil engineering.

He retired from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in 1984. He was a member of the National, New Jersey and Monmouth Societies of Professional Engineers. Francis believed in public service and served each community in which he lived. Some of his community activities were as a board member of Monmouth Day Care Center, Brookdale Community College Foundation, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra League, member of the English Speaking Union, member of the Newcomon Society, district governor of Division Six of Kiwanis International, president of the Lions Club of Clinton, Mass., board member of Fruitlands Museums, and adjunct member of the Conservation Commission of Lancaster, Mass. Francis was an avid gardener, photographer, stamp and coin collector, and a world traveler. His outgoing interest in other people will be missed by many.

He was predeceased by his wife Johanna Beker Tyler. He is survived by his wife Ara Nugent Tyler of Lancaster, Mass.; three daughters, Joan Stewart Wood and her husband Gorton of Little Silver, Paula Paiewonsky of Los Angeles, and Martha Tyler Hoagland and her husband Jim of Kenmore, Wash.; and their mother, Barbara Wright Tyler of Stamford, Conn. He leaves a brother, Samuel Tyler and his wife Janice; and a sister, Marianne Panebianco, all of Jamestown, N.Y.; two step-daughters, Pamela Czekanski and her husband Robert of Bolton, Mass., and Elizabeth Plattenburg and her husband George of Atlanta; several nieces; nephews; grandchildren; and great-grandchildren.

A Memorial Mass will be offered at 10 a.m. Saturday at Immaculate Conception Church, Main Street, Lancaster, Mass. A celebration of life reception is to follow services immediately at the First Church of Christ Unitarian Fellowship Hall, 725 Main St., Lancaster. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Philbin-Comeau Funeral Home, 176 Water St., Clinton, Mass. Contributions may be made in Francis’s memory to either the Xavier Jesuit Community, P.O. Box 7300 Kanpala, Uganda, or to the First Church of Christ Unitarian, c/o Heritage Fund, P.O. Box 66 Lancaster, MA 01523.

All of this info jives with what I found in the slide collection!  Now for some of the slide collection……….

Francis in the Galapagos

The Future Mrs.Tyler

1990s 209th Reunion

13 thoughts on “Francis D. Tyler Jr. – WWII Navy PBM Pilot 35mm Color Slide Collection

  1. Thanks for posting this. I’m trying to find out if the Johanna Beker Tyler who predeceased Francis Tyler was the same Johanna who was married to my father. Same name with odd spelling of ‘Beker’. Does the image titled The Future Mrs. Tyler name her? Do you happen to know if that is Johanna?

    Great site, great work, thank you.

  2. The man pictured, Francis D. Tyler Jr. was my dad. And the “girlfriend” is my mom, still living. I’m just wondering where you came across these slides? You say you bought them on Ebay? I thought we had most of his slides but his horrible third wife probably kept some and sold them after my Dad died, is what I’m thinking…

    • No, I just found it by googling, and there doesn’t seem to be any way to contact the owner. If you click on About at the top of the page, there’s at least some info, but I don’t know more.

      • The owner just emailed me. He bought the slides from my father’s horrible 3rd wife in Mass. But I have a feeling that you know her…

      • No, I don’t know her. I spoke with Paula today – my father was married to Johanna before your father was. Can we talk?

      • After I read your Dad’s obituary here, I tried contacting everyone mentioned. I finally found her through LinkedIn and then called the company and she was kind enough to call me back. I really hope we can talk.

    • Marty, won’t you please give me a few minutes of your time? I’m researching my father’s life, and it’s very difficult. Won’t you please have a heart and not simply refuse to speak with me? I have no – zero – contact with Ara, never have, don’t know the first thing about her. I had nothing to do with these slides of your Dad. I’m just researching my own family. Won’t you please give me a few minutes?

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