Frank Leslie Etchison Jr.
September 5, 1928 – September 22, 2017
Frank Leslie Etchison, September 5, 1928-September 22, 2017, was born in Live Oak, Florida to parents Frank Leslie and Kathryn Engle Etchison. When Les was ten years old, he told his Mother that he wanted to go to the United States Naval Academy and become an officer. He continued to hold onto that dream while attending grade school in Charleston, SC before moving to Rocky Mount, NC to attend middle and high school, where he made lifelong friends and got into mischief. While awaiting his appointment to the USNA, he spent a year at the University of North Carolina where he learned to drink beer and become a lifelong Tarheel fan. From 1947-1951 he attended the United States Naval Academy where he played football, defeating Army in 1950 in a game of historical proportions. Upon graduation, Les was commissioned as an Ensign in the United States Navy. At the same time, he attended his roommate’s wedding where he met his future wife, Dot. They were married in 1954. During those years, he served aboard the U.S.S. Smalley, fighting in the Korean War before sailing around the world. After a stint in Post-Graduate school in Monterey, he reported to the sixth fleet in Villefranche where he served aboard the U.S.S. Salem and the U.S.S. Des Moines. He later became the Executive Officer on the Richard E. Byrd, participating in the building and commissioning of the ship. He did two tours of duty in Vietnam in 1967 and again in 1968 when he took command of the U.S.S. Weeks. In the ensuing years, Les had multiple posts, including work at the Pentagon and as the Executive Officer at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Quite the world traveler while in the military, he spent many of his retired years following that same passion. His list of favorite places included England, Jasper, Alberta, and the highways and towns of the greater United States. Les Etchison was an athlete. In high school, he was a three season player and at the USNA he played football. He was an avid golfer, tennis/squash player, and both coached and played on recreational softball teams in Virginia Beach. As he got older, his playing segued into spectating, usually involving two television sets and firm and vocal opinions about teams, players, and coaches. He loved his garden, his birds, and trapping rodents and other pests who messed with his flowers or bird feeders. He shared an affinity for fireworks with his grandchildren, traveling to South Carolina to purchase the good stuff and setting off huge displays that ended with loud and explosive grand finales. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his older brother Philip and his younger sister Sally. He is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Dot, his three daughters, Kathryn Etchison and husband T.V. Flynn, Ann Etchison and husband Mark Miller, and Elizabeth Etchison; four adored grandchildren, Jamie Greer, Connor Etchison-Flynn, currently deployed with the U.S. Army in Iraq, Patrick Greer, and Elizabeth “Biz” Etchison-Flynn; and younger sister Mary “Lee” Nichols. He is also survived by numerous family members in South Carolina, Georgia, California, and Northern Virginia. Les’ last wish would be for the Nats to win the World Series and for UVA to beat Virginia Tech in football this fall. He also wouldn’t mind if green peppers vanished from the planet without a trace.