Capt. John C. Markowicz, a naval officer who spearheaded the fight in 2005 to save the Groton submarine base from closing, has died.
He was 68.
Markowicz, of Waterford, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and received some of his early submarine training in Groton. He served in posts including communications officer, weapons officer and engineering officer on submarines, and he was honored with decorations for his service and leadership.
He continued to serve in the reserves after leaving active duty, commanding several reserve units.
In 1976, Markowicz started a private defense-contracting business that grew from six to more than 400 employees. Then he joined the Southeastern Connecticut Enterprise Region, where he worked to improve the local economy.
“I respected John an awful lot,” said former Groton Town Councilor Mick O’Beirne, who worked with Markowicz on a group to save the sub base.
“It was really a pleasure working with him, and I think practically everyone on the sub base coalition team would say basically same thing. We worked well as a group, and that is really a function of the leadership."
O'Beirne said he first met Markowicz in 1993, when they were working against a proposal to remove submarines and basically the waterfront from Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton.
For about five years, the two also served as co-chairs of what's now The Subase Coalition. O’Beirne became vice chair of the group in 2005, when the base was threatened with closure.
He said it was awkward to have two chairmen, and the coalition needed one voice. O'Beirne and Markowicz continued to work together to save the base and succeeded.
Markowicz' obituary, published on the Byles-MacDougall Funeral Service, Inc. website is below:
Captain John C. Markowicz, naval officer, executive, and civic leader in southeastern Connecticut died of brain cancer on Friday, January 18, 2013.
He was born in Lynn, Massachusetts on March 4, 1944, the son of Stanley and Stella (Buba) Markowicz. He grew up in Salem, Mass. where he attended St. John the Baptist grammar school and was class president at Salem High School.
He graduated from U.S. Naval Academy with the class of 1965 and launched a career in nuclear submarines. His early training as a submariner included completing Nuclear Power School in Bainbridge, Md., prototype training in Windsor Locks, Conn., and Submarine School in Groton, Conn.
He served on the commissioning crew of USS PARGO (SSN 650) as Communications Officer and then as Weapons Officer during testing of the Mark 48 torpedo in 1970. Following assignments included Submarine Development Group Two as Squadron Weapons Officer and Engineering Officer on USS GUITARRO (SSN 665).
His distinguished service in the Submarine Force was recognized with several unit citations and numerous personal decorations, including the Steven Decatur leadership award. In 1976, he left active duty service and continued his naval service through the Naval Reserve. He participated in and commanded several Reserve units before retiring after 34 years of honorable service.
He started his private career in 1976 by joining David and Muriel Hinkle in starting a new defense contracting company in Sonalyst, Inc. and came to live in Waterford, Conn. He helped the small company grow from a one floor office building of six employees to become Chief Operations Officer of over 400 employees with offices located throughout the country.
He left Sonalyst in 1994 and continued his leadership in the business community through his commitment to the economic development of Southeastern Connecticut.
He worked with Tech Conn and Sea Tech to stir business development throughout the region. In 1997, he joined Southeastern Connecticut Enterprise Region (seCTer) and tirelessly worked on sustaining the health of the local economy.
In 2005, he spearheaded the coalition effort that successfully defended the Submarine Base and overturned the recommendation of Base Realignment and Closure Commission to close the facility.
His community service included membership to the Waterford Nuclear Advisory Board, Lawrence and Memorial Hospital Corporators, and the St. Joseph Parish Council where he was a long time parishioner.
He married Dolores “Laurie” Treptow in Holy Cross Church, Trenton, New Jersey, on June 7, 1969. He is survived by her and son John C. Markowicz, Jr. and his wife Kristin Bache Markowicz and their children John Carter, Joseph Thomas, James Stanley and Jane Lolitia and daughter, Karen Lynn Noyes and her husband Brian Noyes and children Griffen Horne, Avery Horne and Jilian Noyes of Duxbury, Mass.
He is survived by his brother Joseph Markowicz and his wife Gail McGrane Markowicz of Salem, Mass. and his mother-in law Wanda Kochanowicz Treptow and sister in law Christine Treptow Servis and her husband David Servis of Punta Gorda, Florida and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 11 a.m. Thursday at St. Joseph’s Church in New London. Private entombment will be in St. Mary Cemetery. Calling hours will be held from 2 – 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Byles Memorial Home, 99 Huntington St., New London. In lieu of flowers please make donations to St. Joseph’s School, 17 Squire St., New London, CT 06320."