Lt. Imon L. Pilcher, USN 1937 - 2021

Lt. Imon L. Pilcher passed away November 11, 2021, with his wife, children and grandchildren not far from his side. Born October 14, 1937, in Burlington, Kansas, he was 84 years old. After graduating from McMinnville High School in 1955, he entered the U.S. Navy and was assigned to the submarine USS Nautilus, where he served on the crew that completed the world’s first crossing under the North Pole. The journey was perilous and on the brink of failure when the boat was forced to turn back on the first attempt. In an interview that aired on KMCM after the Nautilus successfully surfaced in the Atlantic  August 4, 1958, the interviewer remarked, “Mr. Pilcher, you’re a hero,” to which Imon replied, “I was just doing my job.”

The Navy then sent him to school at the University of Washington, where he earned his degree in electrical engineering and met his wife of 57 years, Dorothy. On his return to McMinnville in 1976, he worked as a milkman for Sunshine Dairy and taught in the electronics department of Chemeketa Community College. He then worked in the private sector as a trainer on safety systems used at Vandenberg Air Force Base for space shuttle landings, and later purchased the local Benedict Electric.

Imon is survived by his wife, Dorothy; daughter, Debra (Matt); son, Ronald; grandsons, Sam and Jake; and nephew, Mark Mathews. He was predeceased by his sister, Peggy Mathews (Merm); and niece, Lisa Stenson (John).

A private graveside service for immediate family with full military honors will be held November 23, 2021, at Willamette National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Willamette Valley Cancer Foundation and Legacy Health (Giving and Support) Hospice. To leave condolences, visit


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