A businessman who once headed Tacoma’s largest private employer during its most prolific period died this week in Mukilteo.
Frank B. Lynott, chairman and chief executive officer of Tacoma Boatbuilding Co. from 1974 through the mid-’80s, was 93.
Lynott is credited with bringing Tacoma’s biggest shipyard, founded in 1926, back from the edge financial ruin into an era of relative prosperity. As chairman chief executive, he helped win contracts for a series of medium endurance Coast Guard cutters, U.S. Navy submarine surveillance ships and commercial and Coast Guard tugboats that kept the shipyard busy for more than a decade.
The company also built patrol boats for several foreign navies and two large chemical incinerator ships designed to burn toxic wastes in high-temperature furnaces at sea.
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At its peak in the late ’70s and early ’80s, Tacoma Boat, employed more than 2,500 workers at its two shipyards, one on the Hylebos Waterway and the other in the former World War II-era Todd Shipyard between the Hylebos and Blair waterways.
During his tenure at Tacoma Boatbuilding, Lynott took the shipyard public with an initial stock offering on the New York Stock Exchange.
His leadership at the Tacoma shipyard earned him the Puget Sound Maritime Man of the Year in 1979. The award was presented by the Maritime Press Association.
The shipyard’s prosperity waned in the mid-1980s when the shipyard failed to win follow-on contracts for Coast Guard cutters and surveillance ships. The business entered bankruptcy in 1985. New York investors bought the shipyard, but were unable to revive its business. The operation shut down in 1992. Its assets were liquidated in 1998.
Tacoma Boat wasn’t Lynott’s only business leadership role. A pilot from an early age, Lynott served as vice president of Alaska Airlines from 1963 through 1967. He was owner and chief executive of Standard Air Lines from 1967 through 1968. Lynott was majority owner of pleasure boat maker Reinell Boats from 1965 through 1979. He also headed Justus Cedar Homes from 1968 through 1974.
During the Second World War, Lynott flew cargo and personnel flights across the Atlantic and to North Africa for the Army Air Corps. After the war, he worked for Slick Airways and Flying Tigers Air Freight.
After Lynott left Tacoma Boatbuilding, he became majority owner and chairman of the Idaho Pacific potato processing company in Rigby, Idaho. He also was a majority owner of Scitec Corporation in Richland.
Lynott is survived by his sons, Thomas and Lawrence, and daughter JoAnn and several nieces and nephews and grandchildren. His wife, Laura Lee, died in 2006.
Services for Lynott will be private, the family said. In lieu of flowers, the family suggested well-wishers donate to the charity of their choice.