Rear Adm. William W. Cobb Jr., U.S. Navy, called Reginald “Fritz” Gaylord a distinguished naval officer and gentleman of the highest order: “He was incredibly intelligent, and nobody knew more about ships, people and the Navy than Fritz.”
Born in Jefferson City, Missouri, in 1938, Gaylord was the oldest of three sons. His family moved many times during his youth, finally settling in Vallejo, California. From his mother, he inherited a strong will, self-discipline, and an indefatigable work ethic; from his father, a sense of humor and uncanny ability to strike up a conversation with anyone, anywhere.
In 1956, Gaylord matriculated at the University of California, Berkeley, where he earned a bachelor’s degree and was a member of Sigma Nu fraternity. He would later earn a master’s degree in business from Central Michigan University.
Upon graduation, Gaylord completed Officer Candidate School, was commissioned an Ensign, and served as a Surface Warfare Officer for 28 years, with a two-year hiatus to work in his father’s store. Proudly serving on destroyers and other ships to include U.S. ships Floyd County, Shields, Worden, Ramsey and Hewitt, Gaylord commanded USS Hewitt and also the ex-Cambodian naval ship, E-312, during Operation Frequent Wind, the 1975 Navy-led evacuation of South Vietnam. Beloved by subordinates, nothing gave Gaylord greater pleasure than mentoring junior officers.
With family in tow, Gaylord’s career led to duty in Yokosuka, Japan; San Diego; Norfolk, Virginia; Mare Island, California; and Alexandria, Virginia. His last assignment was as Third Fleet Chief of Staff in Honolulu. Retiring as a Captain, “Fritz” was a proud Navy veteran and lived in Coronado for nearly 40 years. A man of great faith, he was active in the Sacred Heart Parish, the Knights of Columbus, Coronado Optimist Club and the Board of Directors for the Coronado Public Library.
Twice Gaylord found the love of his life, first in 48 years of marriage to “Toni” Fahy Gaylord and, after her death, married to “Kitty” O’Toole-Herlihy. He is survived by his wife, Kitty; sons Michael (Kathleen) and Reginald F. Gaylord III (Jessie); stepchildren Austin, Kevin, and Shannon Herlihy; and grandchildren Melissa Snider; Andrew, Timothy and Jack Gaylord, and Liam, Peyton and Piper Herlihy.