Herbert Ainsworth: Naval hero, Foothill teacher

Photo By:
Adm. Ainsworth

Herbert Sylvan Ainsworth, a retired admiral who lived in Los Altos for nearly four decades and taught for years at Foothill College, died Dec. 23 of an undisclosed illness. He was 92.

Adm. Ainsworth was born Sept. 2, 1920, in San Francisco, where he attended Drew Prep School. He played football at the U.S. Naval Academy and received his commission in 1943. He earned a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a master’s in international affairs from George Washington University.

During his stint in the Navy, Adm. Ainsworth served during World War II aboard the cruiser Santa Fe. Winning his wings in 1945, he joined Patrol Squadron 21 and flew PBM seaplanes. Over the next few years, he served two tours of duty with the Pacific Naval Air Force and completed assignments with Patrol Squadron 6 at the Bureau of Aeronautics and at Port Lyautey, Morocco.

The admiral won his first Navy commendation medal for a NATO assignment as exercise project officer on the Allied Forces Southern Europe staff and his second for Vietnam service in command of Fleet Air Wing 8 and Task Group 72.3.

He assumed command of the Fleet Air Wings Pacific Fleet/Fleet Air Moffett Field in 1972. He retired in 1974.

In retirement, Adm. Ainsworth taught meteorology, astronomy and mathematics for aviation at local community colleges and enjoyed tennis, golf, skiing, travel and time with his family.

Adm. Ainsworth is survived by his wife of 20 years, Corinne van Ackere. He was previously married to Anne Kacy, who predeceased him in 1974. They had four children: Bob (Konne), Patty, Lynne (Larry) Page and Kacy; he also has a son, Christopher. He was “Poppa” to five grandsons, Damien, Justin, Carson, Brady and Conner, and two great-grandsons, Lucas and Sawyer.

Obituary Policy

The Town Crier's obituary publishing rates are $3 per line with a minimum charge of $50.  Photos may be included at $40 per photo (in addition to the $50.00 minimum charge).

Deadline: Thursday at noon, for publication the following Wednesday (6 days later). If a holiday falls within that week, check with us about special publication deadlines. 

For more information and to submit obituaries, email

The Town Crier is not responsible for obituary content. Paid obituaries are provided by families or mortuaries. 

Schools »

Read More

Sports »

Read More

People »

Read More

Special Sections »

Special Sections
Read More

Photos of Los Altos

Browse and buy photos