Jon Lindbergh, Aviator’s Son to Sea, has died at the age of 88.


Jon Lindbergh, a renowned deep-sea diver and underwater demolition expert whose life as the son of Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh was shaped by the height of his fame and the depth of his family’s tragedy, died at his home on July 29. Lewisburg, W. Va.. He was 88 years old.

His daughter, Kristina Lindbergh, said the cause was metastatic kidney cancer.

Mr Lindbergh was one of the world’s oldest aquanauts. He explored the ocean depths, pioneered cave diving, and participated in daring underwater rescue missions, including finding a hydrogen bomb lost in the Mediterranean Sea off Spain in 1966.

The pursuit of adventure was in his DNA. In 1927, his father became a pilot. First solo non-stop trans-Atlantic flight in history, an epic feat that made him arguably the biggest celebrity in the world. Colonel Lindbergh and his wife, Anne Morrow LindberghAn author and the first woman to hold a glider pilot’s license in the United States, they were glamorous symbols of the American can-do spirit, and together they flew around the world and sparked interest in the fledgling quest for aviation.

But their prominence has also made them the target of awe-inspiring curiosity seekers, paparazzi, and evildoers. On March 1, 1932, their 20-month-old son, Charles Jr., was kidnapped for ransom from their New Jersey home and killed in what the press called the “crime of the century.”

Between the abduction and the trial, the couple’s second child, Jon Morrow Lindbergh, was born on August 16, 1932, in Manhattan. The birth took place at her mother’s parents’ home in Kristina on the Upper East Side, for safety reasons. Lindbergh said over the phone.

He said that his brother’s abduction had deeply affected him.

“They now say that the trauma experienced by the mother carrying the child affected the baby,” Lindbergh said. She said that Anne Lindbergh admitted years later, after much therapy, that she was terrified that something might happen to Jon, that she wouldn’t let him love her as much as she should have.

He grew up on his grandmother’s heavily guarded mansion in Englewood, NJ, initially with his family, with constant security guards. Even as a baby, he received death threats. The New York Times reported in 1933 that two men were accused of trying to blackmail the family for $50,000 by threatening to kidnap Jon, who was 6 months old at the time, as a copy of his older brother’s kidnapping.

His parents were often absent in his early years, leaving him with his grandmother as they flew to cities around the world for test flights and promotional tours. When she was 3 years old, a car carrying her home from school was taken off the road by photographers. The event forced the Lindberghs to seek refuge in Europe in 1935.

They lived for a while in England, where the press still followed them, then bought a small french island, Ile Illiec, on Brittany’s rocky north coast. Going to school in Paris, Jon was bilingual until the age of 5.

The family returned to the United States in 1939, escaping the escalating storm of World War II. They moved frequently, living in Westport, Conn., Martha’s Vineyard, and later in Detroit, where Charles Lindbergh worked in the aviation industry testing partial bombers.

(Colonel Lindbergh, who opposed America’s entry into the war and whom many saw as Nazi sympathizers, was banned from the armed forces by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. According to A. Scott Berg’s 1998 biography “Lindbergh”, the commanding officers look the other way in the South Pacific.) combat missions.)

The family is finally Conn, where Jon went to high school and spent as much time as possible on Long Island Sound. settled in Darien. “Always a loner,” Kristina Lindbergh wrote on Facebook, “he adored the ocean as a child, and it has become the canvas on which much of her life is drawn.”

He went west to college and enrolled at Stanford; After a while, he lived alone in a tent a few miles from campus to avoid dorm life. Studied marine biology; started mountaineering, skydiving and cave diving; and joined the Marine Reserve. He graduated in 1954, the same year he married Barbara Robbins, another Stanford student. They had six children.

After the couple divorced in the early 1980s, he married Karen Pryor, a famous animal trainer. They divorced in the mid-1990s and he married Maura Jansen, a veterinarian with whom he moved in West Virginia and has twin daughters. He gets rid of it.

In addition to himself and his daughter Kristina, Mr. Lindbergh has twins Anne and Alena Lindbergh and five more children from his first marriage: daughter Wendy Lindbergh and four sons Lars, Leif, Erik and Morgan. He is also survived by two brothers, Land and Scott; one sister, Reeve Lindbergh Tripp; eight grandchildren; and two grandchildren.

Her dad is dead in 1974 at 72; her mother died in 2001 at 94.

Jon Lindbergh got his pilot’s license before going to college, but his father distanced him from aviation as a career, believing that the fame of being Charles Lindbergh’s son would consume him, Kristina Lindbergh said.

“Our grandfather was always worried about getting too much exposure,” she said. “When my mom was pregnant with me, she told my parents not to name me Charles if I was a boy.”

And so Jon went the other way as Charles Lindbergh took to the skies. After college, he earned a master’s degree at the University of California San Diego and spent three years as a Navy frog working with the Underwater Demolition Team. He appeared as an extra in the television series “Sea Hunt” and had minor roles in several films, including “Underwater Warrior” (1958).

He also worked as a commercial deep-sea diver and participated in various diving experiments. It included the 1964 project “Man-in-Sea” in the Bahamas. Edwin Connection allowed divers to stay underwater longer.

As part of this project, Mr Lindbergh and Robert Sténuit, a Belgian engineer, break a record A submersible at a depth of 432 feet for 49 hours stays in the dwelling, breathing a mixture of helium and oxygen that allows them to swim unharmed outside the dwelling despite the enormous pressure of the water above. Mr. Sténuit wrote a description of the experiment in the April 1965 issue of National Geographic.

Mr. Lindbergh was also involved in the development and testing of the Navy’s Alvin deep-ocean submarine, which he used during the recovery of the hydrogen bomb in the Mediterranean. A American bomber crashes into a tanker refueling in mid-air and dropped four hydrogen bombs, two of which released plutonium into the atmosphere, but no warheads exploded.

He later helped install Seattle’s water purification system in icy waters up to 600 feet deep. Realizing he loved the area, he bought a secluded, Georgian house on Bainbridge Island in the mid-1960s and raised his family there. He later raised salmon in Puget Sound and as part of the burgeoning aquaculture industry in Chile and sold the fish to airlines and restaurants.

Charles Lindbergh lived long enough to see Jon flourish in his career and was relieved that his son didn’t follow him in aviation. In his biography, Mr. Berg wrote to Jon, “He lifted the entire weight of his career off his son’s shoulders,” telling Jon that what first drew him to aviation in the 1920s no longer existed.

“Thirty years ago, piloting an airplane was an art,” Charles Lindbergh told his son, but it no longer seemed like an adventure.

Instead of being a pilot, Charles Lindbergh added, “I think I would follow your footsteps across the oceans, confident that luck and imagination would combine to justify the course I set.”


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