Lieutenant Commander Philip Edward Dechene, 86, of Graham, husband to the late Evelyn A. Dechene, passed away on May 1, 2023, at his residence. He was born on February 1, 1937, in Calais, Maine. He was the son of the late (Pete) Eugene Antonio Dechene and Nellie Marie McPheters Dechene.
He joined and served for 4 ½ years in the Maine National Guard at age 15. He made Corporal as a member of an antiaircraft gun crew. Philip graduated from Woodland High School and The Maine Vocational Technical Institute. He joined the Navy with the grade of Seaman and retired 27 ½ years later. Philip is a veteran of the Vietnam war. For his service, he earned a Gold Star, Good Conduct Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, and Expert Pistol Shot Medal. Some of his military assignments included USS Kearsarge, USS Fulton, Naval School Command, NAD Oahu, and Mine Warfare School. He served honorably in the Navy, achieving the rank of Lieutenant Commander. He then attended and graduated from the Military College of South Carolina (the Citadel) with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. Lieutenant Commander Dechene spent his Naval career in Underwater Mine Warfare and his civilian career in Underwater Surveillance Systems. He retired again after 15 years with AT&T and General Dynamics.
Philip was an avid model railroader and train chaser. He built an amazing train layout in his home. He was a member of the Carolina Model Railroad Club, a member of the Board of Directors for the Association of Mineman, a marksman and a member of the Durham Pistol and Rifle Club, and a member of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church.
Philip loved traveling and gardening with his wife of over 62 years and filming many incredible moments and adventures with his family. He will be greatly missed, but always remembered for the memorable things he taught his children. Like how to skip a stone on a lake, the importance of family staying together through illness and hardship, and one’s devotion to family and career.
In addition to his parents, Philip is preceded in death by his wife, Evelyn and his brother, Francis Eugene Dechene.
He is survived by his children, Barbara Hill (William Jr.), Cindy Latimer (Thomas), David Dechene (Sonja), and Paul Dechene (Debbie); his grandchildren, Jennyffer Menzie (Jonathan), Audrey Weatherwax (Joby), William Hill III (Nikita), Madison Dechene, Erin Latimer, and Justin Bloodworth; and his great grandchildren, Damien Menzie, Ashara Weatherwax, Caden Bloodworth, and Sina Emma Hill.
A visitation will be held on Thursday, May 11, 2023, from 5-7pm at McClure Funeral Home in Graham. A service for Philip will be held for the family at a later date at Arlington Cemetery in Virginia.
In Lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project.
If you have time the family would love for you to check out the YouTube links below for insight to Philip’s life and hobbies
USS Kittyhawk/Yankee Station North Vietnam 1967
My Dad’s Model Train Layout
My Dad’s Model Train Layout 2
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