Obituary of Dr. James Thomas Chandler
Dr. James Thomas Chandler, CDR USNR died in hospice with his two living children by his side on October 12, 2020 at the age of 86. Dr. Chandler was born June 22, 1934 in Pontiac Michigan to Albert and Marilyn (nee Thomson) Chandler. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Kay (nee Kirkby), his children Lisa Chandler and Eric (Cheryl) Chandler, six grandchildren Nicholas Smith, Emily Carpenter, Jacob King, Amanda Chandler and Ethan and Paige Chandler and seven great grandchildren Jaxson, Asher and Sawyer Smith and Teagen, Logan, Isla, and Quentin Carpenter. He is predeceased by his parents, brothers Albert and Robert, daughter Lynn Monea (John) in 1982 and son Mark (Amber) in 2015.
Jim entered the U.S. Naval Service in 1952 at age 17 while still a student in high school and college. As an inactive reservist he was a Communications Technician, having served on active duty for training on the PCE 877 and DD 697. He then entered full time active duty, attending Officer Candidate School at Newport, RI, and being commissioned as an Ensign in 1956. Former enlisted who become officers are called “Mustangs.”
CDR Chandler then served three years on two destroyers — USS Stembel (DD644) and USS Marshall (DD676) mostly in the South Pacific. The ships were assigned duties such as hunter/killer operations, carrier escort, and Formosa Patrol. Jim served as Communications Division Officer, Officer of the Deck (OOD), Fast Carrier Task Force OOD, OOD Training Officer, and Heavy Weather OOD. Jim normally had the conn of the Marshall during general quarters, heavy weather, entering and leaving port, etc. While in the Philippine Islands, Jim was promoted to LT Junior Grade (LTJG). About that time, he was awarded a Navy Commendation for action involving a wounded shipmate.
Jim then left active service and returned to inactive Reserve service. He progressed through billets as Training Officer, Executive Officer, Commanding Officer, Group Commander, and Commendant’s Representative. Jim attended the Naval War College War Gaming Center and qualified as an OOD on the USS Amberst (PCE 853) in two weeks, an unusual accomplishment as this was a non-steam vessel. He also had various active duty for training assignments throughout the Navy, including the USS Mazama (AE9), the USS Donner (LSD20) and two weeks as the CO of the Naval Alcohol Rehabilitation Center in San Diego. Jim was assigned to the Fleet Sonar School in Key West during the Cuban Crisis. Dr. Chandler retired from the Naval Reserve in 1978 having served 24 years, all while still pursuing his career in Police Psychology as a civilian. While on active duty, Jim earned the Armed Forces Reserve Medal, The China Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and other awards.
Jim’s Naval career was just part of his story. Jim also earned his doctorate in Police Psychology from Holy Cross College, completing his undergraduate work at Wayne State University. His career in law enforcement as a police psychologist was unique at the time, centering around officer counseling, hostage negotiation, criminal profiling and training others. At the pinnacle of his career he was head of the Illinois State Police Psychological Services Unit. At all hours of the day and night he would be called to assist in hostage negotiations statewide. He would counsel officers dealing with often terrible job-related situations for which they could not mentally handle. He developed various psychological tactics for combatting terrorism and common domestic situations. With that knowledge, he wrote a textbook for law enforcement professionals: Modern Police Psychology, published in 1990.
Outside of work Jim enjoyed square dancing with Kay from the late 1970s until Jim could no longer handle the exhertion at which time Kay turned to country line dancing. Jim and Kay traveled the country with their camper as they had done with the family back in the 70s and 80s, enjoyed several caribbean cruises and also traveled abroad to Australia, New Zealand, Scotland and Ireland. Jim was also an avid volunteer. He was in the Lions Club during his time living in Rochester Illinois. He vounteered in the management of a bagpipers group in Springfield, IL and later after retiring to Florida he taught many classes at Mastering the Possibilities in Ocala where his most popular course was called “What is Normal?” He was active in the local Kingdom of the Sun MOAA Chapter and was editor of their newsletter “The Sunbeam” for 9 years. He volunteered with Kay for many years with the “Stuff the Bus” program that provides needed school supplies to underprivileged students. Even when he was relegated to a wheelchair in a nursing home, he was put to work counseling fellow patients.
His penchant for humor was well known. He had a dry sense of humor and enjoyed the art of publicly-embarassing his children – a tradition carried down to future generations of Chandlers. He utilized an arsenal of pickup lines from the 1940s on unsuspecting women, often in his wife’s purview. Humor was his defense against the tragedies of his life and it served to lighten the moods of those that surrounded him. He was a likable guy. He will be sorely-missed.
There will be a one hour viewing service on Friday, October 16 beginning at noon, at Hiers-Baxley Funeral Home on 9695 SW 110th Street in Ocala Florida. Following this will be a military serivce at Florida National Cemetary at 2pm.