21 February, 1906 – 14 July, 1999
Cora ‘Lois’ Stidham was born to Robert Elihu and Clara Pace Stidham in Austin, Texas. Her early years were spent in Texas and Arizona where her father was employed as a surveyor. Her father’s work greatly influenced Lois’ choice of career.
Lois graduated from high school in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1926 and attended Arizona State College and the University of Washington before graduating from the University of Arizona in 1930. Her education was continued during summers at the National University of Mexico, the University of Southern California, and the California Institute of Technology where she studied Map Drafting.
Lois taught school in Arizona and California. She was teaching science at the Chadwick Seaside School, a progressive private school in Rolling Hills, California, in 1942 when she learned that the Navy was recruiting women. She jumped at the opportunity to change careers.
On September 14, 1942 Lois received her appointment in the Naval Reserves and once again became Cora Stidham. The Navy gave her back the first name she had discarded years before. Her first assignment in the Navy was as an instructor at USNRMS, North Hampton, NH, a position she filled for the better part of a year. She requested reassignment to make better use of her skills in drafting and charting. That request was honored and she was reassigned to the Hydrographic Office, Washington, D.C. Her work with the Reserves continued with the Submarine Force of the Eleventh Naval District until her retirement in June, 1965 as a commander.
Lois married Lloyd Chandler on August 6, 1947. They became acquainted while they were students at the University of Arizona. Lloyd was a Merchant Marine captain and they shared many interests over the years.
Note: CDR Chandler’s uniforms and papers have been donated to the Undersea Warfare Museum in Keyport, Washington.