Vonnie Dale Estep – Lieutenant Commander, United States Navy

Dale Estep, 75, born in Reed Springs, Missouri, on October 19, 1924, passed away on Saturday, August 5th, at Northwoods Lodge in Silverdale, WA, following complications stemming from a broken hip. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Edna Jane; their three daughters, Conita and Harold Wasson, Ellen and Leonard Hagen, Dortha Murker and Al Tisthammer; grandson Dean Murker and granddaughter Ashtyn Murker.

Dale grew up on a farm in Springfield, Missouri. He joined the Navy in December 1942 as an apprentice seaman. Following boot camp, he attended sonar school, graduated as a third class sonar man and was assigned to the pre-commissioning crew of the USS Subchaser 1358. During WWII, he served on board the USS Borie (DD-704), participating in action in the Pacific. The Borie was the last destroyer to receive a kamikaze hit, August 9, 1945, six days prior to Japan’s surrender.

He returned to civilian life in February 1946. He attended Drury College in Springfield, Missouri, and worked in his hometown until the Korean War. He re-enlisted in the Navy in January 1951.

In 1952, he received orders of transfer to the US Naval Submarine Base at New London, Connecticut, where he applied to the Limited Duty Program which led to his commission as an Officer in the US Navy. His tours of duty from 1951 to 1964 were on board USS Osberg (DE-538); USS Trutta (SS-424); Staff, COMSUBRON FOUR; USS Seawolf (SSN-575); USS Salmon (SS-573); Staff, COMSUBDIV 102; and USS Triton (SSN-586). During assignment to Seawolf, he was selected and qualified as a Diving Officer. In July 1957, he was transferred from Seawolf to Nuclear Power School at the Submarine Base in New London. When assigned to the USS Triton, SSN-586, as Operations Officer, he was the first Naval Officer Limited Duty Electronics to be assigned to an operating nuclear submarine.

He was transferred to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, WA, in October 1964 as Nuclear Ship Superintendent. In August 1967, he was reassigned as the commanding officer of the USS Coucal, ASR-8, a submarine rescue vessel stationed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. He served as a Commanding Officer until his retirement from the Navy in 1969. Following retirement, he returned to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard as the civilian Nuclear Production Manager, a position he held from 1969 until his retirement in 1980. Thereafter, he continued to keep busy through community and public service.

At Dale’s request, there will be no memorial service. Visitation for Dale is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, August 9th, at Lewis Funeral Chapel, 5303 Kitsap Way, Bremerton, Washington 98312. Inurnment will be at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Family members suggest remembrances be made to the charity of your choice.



  • DATE OF BIRTH: 10/19/1924
  • DATE OF DEATH: 08/05/2000

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