Surrounded by his loving family, Andrew Crawford Whyte, a proud Navy Veteran of WWII, passed away peacefully on December 17th, 2022.
Andrew, or Andy as he was best known, was born on November 27th, 1926, to Marjorie Crawford Whyte and Andrew Miller Whyte who emigrated from Scotland. The family settled in a “wee” house on Beacon Street in Norwalk, CT, where he and his brother, Malcolm, spent their childhood. Andy recalled watching the construction of Norwalk High School (now Norwalk City Hall) then picking and selling apples to the workers as a child. Living so close also allowed him to “hop the fence” at the bell and still get to class on time; eventually graduating NHS in 1944.
On September 20th of that year, still only seventeen years old, Andy enlisted in the Navy which required the written blessing of his father. He entered into active duty on October 9th, 1944 and was initially sent to the Naval Air Technical Training Center in Norman, Oklahoma where he attained his AMM, Aviation Machinist’s Mate. From Norman, he was sent to the Naval Air Station in Corpus Christie, Texas where he served as an Air Crewman and Flight Engineer. His departure from Norman, however, proved problematic as he had already met the love of his life, Patsy Lenore Smith on a blind date that a Navy buddy had arranged. Hence, most of their early courtship entailed Andy hitchhiking between Corpus Christie and Norman every chance he got. He was later deployed to San Pedro, California in preparation for an invasion of Japan, but WWII ended just before he deployed.
After the war, Andy continued in the Navy Reserves and returned to Cabaniss Field, Corpus Christie, Texas. He served there as a plane captain, line crewman, engineer, and line maintenance crewman, attaining the rank of Officer Third Class ending his active-duty service ended on June 1st, 1946. He later returned to the east coast, having secured employment at Nash Engineering, where he also enrolled in the ranks of the Navy Reserves. Andy completed his duties there and was honorably discharged from the Navy on June 29th, 1954, having completed nearly ten years of proud service to his country. Andy’s service as a Navy Veteran was always central to his identity and a strong source of pride his entire life. It also influenced his entry into the aviation field from an engineering standpoint and inspired his artwork throughout his life.
Andy and Patsy were married in a small church ceremony in Norman, OK on September 2nd, 1948. They eventually moved back to the east coast, settling in Norwalk where jobs were more plentiful, and Andy landed at Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford. He recalled many times being witness to Igor Sikorsky himself, who started the helicopter company, “test flying” some early versions right there from an on-site tarmac. Beginning as an engineer and later becoming an Advanced Design Engineer, Andy stayed with Sikorsky Aircraft for 42 years. He was the preliminary designer of several well-known and lesser-known aircraft fabricated and built by Sikorsky Aircraft. These included the original “Blackhawk” S-67 designed and built in 1970 (which for eight years held the highest land speed record at 221 mph), the UH-60 Blackhawk which is well-known to every branch of the military and most civilians today, the S-76 civilian transport, and most recently, the S-92 helicopter. The UH-60, S-76 and S-92 are still in production to date. Andy was also the preliminary designer on many concept aircraft which
received patents, but never saw production. The patents of all the aircraft listed and many more hang on his studio wall today as a testament to his creative engineering capabilities. You can see his design work on display in front of Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford, CT with a full size UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter mounted atop a pedestal.
Along the way Andy co-wrote and published 2 books on “How to Draw and Paint Aircraft” and became an active member of the American Society of Aviation Artists. Through his association with ASAA, he and Patsy enjoyed frequent travel with the group to forums all over the world, especially after his retirement from Sikorsky. On multiple occasions he was commissioned by the Air Force to render portraits of retiring aircraft or commemorative scenes and would be transported to Pensacola for the military presentations. Many of his paintings now reside in the Pentagon and other military installations.
Andy’s life alongside his true soulmate, Patsy, proved to be full and very rewarding. From raising two children, filling his art studio with history books, being an Eagle Scout and Boy Scout leader, his athletic endeavors of skiing, tennis, hiking and swimming, wonderful friends, family vacations, multiple doggos and later being blessed with five grandchildren, there were few dull moments.
When Patsy passed away in April just seven months ago, they had celebrated 73 years of marriage. But if there exists any blessing found in the degenerative dementia that eventually took him from us, it was that he had remained blissfully unaware that he had lost her. Their marriage, with all its ups and downs, was a love story for the ages.
Andy was predeceased by his mother and father, and wife, Patsy. He is survived by his brother, Malcolm Whyte and sister-in-law, Nancy, his daughter, Anne Whyte Mallozzi, and son, Andrew Scott Whyte, their spouses, Danny and Andrea, and five grandchildren, Lauren, Lindsay and Matt Mallozzi, and Kristen and Katie Whyte.
A service will be held at the First Church of Christ Congregational, 25 Cross Highway, in Redding, CT on January 15th, at 2:00 pm. All are welcome to attend.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Bouton Funeral Home in Georgetown, CT. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to the Regional Hospice of Danbury, whose gentle caring support and guidance were invaluable for over a year in Andy’s final days.
Online reflections and memories may also be shared at Boutonfuneralhome.com.