Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Capt Maino des Granges, former OIC of NEDU, passed August 19, 2009 at the age of 91.

We are sorry to report that Maino des Granges has passed. He was a retired Navy Captain and in the 1950s he was the OIC of NEDU in the Washington Navy Yard. During his time at NEDU the dive tables that we used for over 50 years were developed. We've attached his obituary.

22Sep09 - As a youth growing up in Southern California, Maino des Granges developed a love of diving, inventing and building.

As a Navy officer and entrepreneur, he used his skills to come up with inventions to assist in diving and construction. As a retiree wanting to improve his golf game, he designed and built a collapsible driving-range cage and putting green in his yard, complete with sand trap.

Capt. des Granges died Aug. 19 after suffering a heart attack while attending a Padres game. He was 91.

Friends and relatives said Capt. des Granges was a quiet, unassuming, self-made man who enjoyed coming up with solutions to problems.

After enlisting in the Navy in 1936, he was selected for appointment to the Naval Academy in 1938. He was among those who graduated early because of World War II.

He graduated from the academy in December 1941 and was assigned to submarine patrol in January 1942. After completing three war patrols, he was able to attend submarine school. "He was pretty sharp," said friend and fellow Navy veteran Charles Bishop. "He was made commanding officer (in 1943) and was one of the youngest at the time."

In the 1950s, Capt. des Granges was officer in charge of the Navy Experimental Diving Unit in Washington, D.C. "He developed the Navy's first set of diving tables. ... Everybody that goes diving uses the diving tables he developed," Bishop said, referring to the invention of a handheld wheel computer that was widely used and served as the prototype of many dive computers used today.

Capt. des Granges was a "fearless, remarkable man's man," son-in-law Ned Chambers said. "I think I hit the father-in-law lotto. ... He was the most honorable, phenomenal human being."

Although he was given six months to live after undergoing melanoma surgery several decades ago, Capt. des Granges "just went on with his life and beat it," Chambers said.

He enjoyed tinkering around his home and yard into his late 80s. Chambers remembered getting a call from his mother-in-law several years ago when Capt. des Granges had fallen and dislocated his hip while building a concrete wall in his yard. "The paramedics were there and he was telling them, `Just pull it back in so I can get back to work.' "

"He was his own man," Chambers said, noting that Capt. des Granges' 1963 Plymouth bore a sticker on the front that identified him as a Navy captain, while a rear sticker identified him as a Libertarian.

After retiring from the Navy in 1966, Capt. des Granges became the owner and operator of Superior CATV Construction, a major installer of underground cable. The business had nearly 200 employees at one time and had offices in El Cajon and Huntington Beach. Capt. des Granges was active in the El Cajon Chamber of Commerce until he sold the company in the mid-1980s.

"He was energetic and innovative, and everybody who worked with him just loved him," said Wade Harris, who served under Capt. des Granges when he was division commander and Harris was an executive officer. "He was one of the finest naval officers I ever met. He had a quiet, unassuming personality, but he was outstanding at his job."

Maino des Granges was born Aug. 2, 1918, in Fullerton to Paul and Julia des Granges. He graduated from Fullerton High School.

He married the former Dorothy Beckley in 1942. They settled in San Diego in 1964, when he was stationed as commanding officer of the submarine tender Nereus. He was a member of the Yacht Club and enjoyed playing golf and bridge.

He is survived by his wife, Dorothy, of Point Loma; daughters, Jeanne Vivoli and Anne Chambers of San Diego; son, Paul of Portland, Ore.; four grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. He was predeceased by a sister, Pauline des Granges, a former director of the San Diego Park and Recreation Department.

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