Jon Lindbergh, Aviator’s Son Who Took to the Sea, Dies at 88

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Family triumph (Charles Lindbergh’s trans-Atlantic flight) and calamity (the kidnapping “crime of the century”) shaped his aboriginal life, but helium made his people successful the depths.

Jon Lindbergh successful  a wetsuit successful  the aboriginal  1960s. He shared his father’s quest for adventure.
Credit...via Lindbergh family

Katharine Q. Seelye

Aug. 6, 2021, 8:07 p.m. ET

Jon Lindbergh, an acclaimed deep-sea diver and underwater demolition adept whose beingness arsenic the lad of Col. Charles A. Lindbergh was shaped by the tallness of fame and the depths of calamity that his household experienced, died connected July 29 astatine his location successful Lewisburg, W.Va. He was 88.

His girl Kristina Lindbergh said the origin was metastatic renal cancer.

Mr. Lindbergh was 1 of the world’s earliest aquanauts. He explored the water depths, pioneered cave diving and participated successful daring underwater betterment missions, including 1 to find a hydrogen weaponry that was mislaid successful the Mediterranean Sea disconnected the seashore of Spain successful 1966.

The quest for escapade was successful his DNA. In 1927 his begetter piloted the archetypal solo nonstop trans-Atlantic formation successful history, an epic feat that made him arguably the biggest personage successful the world. Colonel Lindbergh and his wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, a writer and the archetypal pistillate successful the United States to gain a glider pilot’s license, were glamorous symbols of the American can-do spirit, and they flew each implicit the satellite together, drumming up involvement successful the fledgling pursuit of aviation.

But their prominence besides made them a people — of awe-struck curiosity seekers, paparazzi and evildoers. On March 1, 1932, their 20-month-old son, Charles Jr., was kidnapped for ransom from their location successful New Jersey and killed successful what the property called “the transgression of the century.”


Credit...Bettmann/Getty Images

Between the kidnapping and the trial, Jon Morrow Lindbergh, the couple’s 2nd child, was calved successful Manhattan connected Aug. 16, 1932. The birth, for information purposes, took spot successful the location of his mother’s parents connected the Upper East Side, Kristina Lindbergh said by phone.

His brother’s kidnapping, she said, affected him profoundly.

“They present accidental that trauma experienced by the parent carrying the kid does impact the baby,” Ms. Lindbergh said. She said Anne Lindbergh admitted years later, aft overmuch therapy, that she had been truthful terrified of the anticipation of thing happening to Jon, she didn’t let herself to emotion him arsenic overmuch arsenic she felt she should have.

He grew up with changeless information protection, initially with his parents astatine the heavy guarded property of his maternal grandma successful Englewood, N.J. Even arsenic a babe helium received decease threats. The New York Times reported successful 1933 that 2 men were charged with trying to extort $50,000 from the household by threatening to kidnap Jon, past 6 months old, successful a copycat mentation of the snatching of his older brother.

His parents were often absent during his aboriginal years, leaving him with his grandma arsenic they flew to assorted cities astir the satellite connected trial flights and promotional tours. When helium was 3, a car carrying him location from schoolhouse was tally disconnected the roadworthy by photographers. The incidental forced the Lindberghs to question refuge successful Europe successful 1935.

They lived for a clip successful England, wherever the property inactive pursued them, past bought a tiny French island, Ile Illiec, disconnected the rocky northbound seashore of Brittany. Jon, who went to schoolhouse successful Paris, was bilingual by property 5.

The household returned to the United States successful 1939, fleeing the gathering tempest of World War II. They moved often, surviving successful Westport, Conn., connected Martha’s Vineyard and past successful Detroit, wherever Charles Lindbergh worked successful the aviation industry, successful portion by test-flying bombers.

(Colonel Lindbergh, an isolationist who opposed America’s introduction into the warfare and whom galore saw arsenic a Nazi sympathizer, was barred from the equipped forces by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. But helium sought to show his patriotism by his enactment successful Detroit and by flying combat missions successful the South Pacific portion commanding officers looked the different way, according to A. Scott Berg’s 1998 biography, “Lindbergh.”)


Credit...Eddie Hausner/The New York Times

The household yet settled successful Darien, Conn., wherever Jon went to precocious schoolhouse and spent arsenic overmuch clip arsenic helium could connected Long Island Sound. “Always a loner,” Kristina Lindbergh wrote connected Facebook, “he adored the water arsenic a child, and it became the canvas connected which overmuch of his beingness was drawn.”

He went westbound to college, enrolling astatine Stanford; aft a clip helium lived unsocial successful a structure a fewer miles from field to debar dorm life. He studied marine biology; started upland climbing, skydiving and cave diving; and joined the Naval Reserve. He graduated successful 1954, the aforesaid twelvemonth helium joined Barbara Robbins, besides a Stanford student. They had six children.

After the mates divorced successful the aboriginal 1980s, helium joined Karen Pryor, a renowned carnal trainer. They divorced successful the mid-1990s, and helium joined Maura Jansen, a veterinarian successful West Virginia, wherever helium moved and with whom helium had duplicate daughters. She survives him.

In summation to her and his girl Kristina, Mr. Lindbergh is survived by the twins, Anne and Alena Lindbergh, and 5 different children from his archetypal marriage: a daughter, Wendy Lindbergh, and 4 sons, Lars, Leif, Erik and Morgan. He is besides survived by 2 brothers, Land and Scott; a sister, Reeve Lindbergh Tripp; 8 grandchildren; and 2 great-grandchildren.

His father died successful 1974 astatine 72; his mother died successful 2001 astatine 94.

Jon Lindbergh earned his pilot’s licence earlier helium went to college, but his begetter steered him distant from aviation arsenic a career, believing that the fame of being Charles Lindbergh’s lad would devour him, Kristina Lindbergh said.

“Our gramps was ever disquieted astir excessively overmuch exposure,” she said. “When my parent was large with me, helium told my parents that if I was a boy, not to sanction maine Charles.”

And truthful portion Charles Lindbergh had taken to the skies, Jon headed successful the other direction. After college, helium did postgraduate enactment astatine the University of California San Diego and spent 3 years arsenic a Navy frogman, moving with the Underwater Demolition Team. He appeared arsenic an other successful the tv bid “Sea Hunt” and had spot parts successful a fewer movies, including “Underwater Warrior” (1958).

He besides worked arsenic a commercialized deep-sea diver and participated successful respective diving experiments. They included a 1964 task successful the Bahamas called “Man-in-Sea” successful which a submersible decompression enclosure devised by Edwin Link allowed divers to enactment deeper nether h2o for longer periods.

As portion of that project, Mr. Lindbergh and Robert Sténuit, a Belgian engineer, set a record by staying successful a submersible dwelling for 49 hours astatine a extent of 432 feet, breathing a substance of helium and oxygen that allowed them to aquatics extracurricular the dwelling without harm contempt the tremendous unit of the h2o above. Mr. Sténuit wrote an relationship of the experimentation successful the April 1965 contented of National Geographic.


Credit...Bates Littlehales/The National Geographic Society

Mr. Lindbergh was besides progressive successful the improvement and investigating of the Navy’s Alvin deep-ocean submersible, which helium utilized during the betterment of the hydrogen weaponry successful the Mediterranean. An American bomber had deed a refueling tanker successful midair and dropped 4 hydrogen bombs, 2 of which released plutonium into the atmosphere, though nary warheads detonated.

He aboriginal helped instal Seattle’s h2o attraction strategy successful icy waters arsenic heavy arsenic 600 feet. Finding that helium liked the area, helium bought a secluded Georgian-style location connected Bainbridge Island successful the mid-1960s and raised his household there. He aboriginal farmed salmon successful Puget Sound and successful Chile arsenic portion of an emerging aquaculture manufacture and sold the food to airlines and restaurants.

Charles Lindbergh lived agelong capable to spot Jon flourish successful his vocation and was relieved that his lad had not followed him into aviation. “He removed immoderate load of his ain vocation from his son’s shoulders,” Mr. Berg wrote successful his biography, by telling Jon that overmuch of what had archetypal attracted him to aviation successful the 1920s nary longer existed.

“Thirty years ago, piloting an airplane was an art,” Charles Lindbergh told his son, but it nary longer seemed similar an adventure.

Rather than go a flyer, Charles Lindbergh added, “I deliberation I would travel your footprints to the oceans, with assurance that accidental and imaginativeness would harvester to warrant the people I set.”

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