Jonathan A. Willetts, 85, of Middletown, husband of Dortha (Cool) Willetts for 36 years, passed away on March 15, 2023, at Hartford Hospital. Born in Hartford, he was the son of the late William and Marian (Roberts) Willetts.
Jonathan is survived by wife Dortha; brother William J. Willetts of Niantic; two grandchildren, Jeremy Whitmore and Jessica Cox; two great-grandchildren; and brother-in-law Robert Most of Greenville, SC. He is predeceased by his parents as well as daughter Michele Cox; son Jonathan F. Willetts; and sister Pamela C. Most.
Jonathan graduated from New London High School in 1954 and attended the University of Arizona where he excelled in fine arts. In 1956 he transferred to the Rhode Island School of Design (RISDI), where he received a Bachelor’s degree in fine arts/industrial design.
After graduating in the top five percent of his class at RISDI, he was hired by the U.S. Patent Office in Washington, D.C., where his methods of reviewing patent proposals helped him advance from a rank of GS-7 to a GS-11 within eight years. Jonathan held a patent for a pressure/vacuum relief valve used in ships. Jonathan also did industrial design and drafting for several companies including: Georgetown Engineering Co. in Annapolis, MD, and Hughes Aircraft Experimental Engineering Lab in Tucson, AZ, where he designed modifications to the Phoenix missile resulting in the achievement of 100-percent-target-demolition by the missile. Jonathan’s acumen then led him to California, where he continued his work in industrial design. In 1989 he moved to Groton, CT, where he worked for the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics, and for Arwood Precision Castings/Wyman-Gordon Investment Castings, Inc. After Wyman-Gordon Investment was bought-out by a U.K. corporation, he returned to Electric Boat, where he worked on nuclear submarines. After accruing five years of work-time in four years, he retired. During his retirement Jonathan designed and built timber-framed homes for Post & Beam Homes, Inc., in East Hampton, CT.
Throughout his life, Jonathan was drawn to nature and the water. As a teen, Jonathan made a two-person sailboat which he christened “Sharpie.” During one famous canoeing adventure in 1987, near Essex, he proposed to Dortha. He especially loved sailing on Lake Dunmore near Middlebury, VT. He and his wife took several trips to Lake Champlain, and on another memorable trip they toured Montreal.
He and Dortha shared a mutual love for cats, and over the 36 years they rescued more than 15 cats. He also enjoyed feeding the birds and especially delighted in watching the wild flock of turkeys that hung out at the intersection of Pine Street and Long Hill Road.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 am on Saturday, March 25, at the Church of the Holy Trinity, 381 Main St., Middletown. Burial will be at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers, donations in Jonathan's memory may be made to Cat Tales, Inc, P.O. Box 901, Middletown, CT 06457. To share memories or send condolences to the family, please visit www.doolittlefuneralservice.com.
To send flowers
to the family or plant a tree
in memory of Jonathan Allen Willetts, please visit our floral store.