Funeral Held For Markowicz, Leader Of Effort To Save Sub Base
By John Barry
January 24, 2013
New London, Conn. — John Markowicz, who led the successful local effort in 2005 to keep the submarine base in Groton from closing, was praised for his dedication at his funeral Thursday.
“He was the kind of man you wanted in your corner,” the Rev. Mark O’Donnell, pastor at St. Joseph Church in New London, said in a eulogy for Markowicz. “Thousands of people are grateful for his work saving the sub base in Eastern Connecticut.”
Markowicz, who lived in Waterford, was a naval officer, businessman and community leader. He died Jan. 18 of cancer at age 68.
“As cancer slowly wore this rock of a man down, he never lost his faith,” O’Donnell said. “He will certainly be missed by all of us who knew and loved him.”
U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, who attended the funeral, said that in an era when many people are cynical about public service, “John’s example is a complete antidote. He was such an ethical, competent public servant. It’s an example we should all follow.”
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy issued a proclamation recognizing Markowicz’s service.
“John was a tireless advocate for the state’s naval submarine base and its importance to the nation,” the proclamation said. “In 2005, he played a critical role in efforts to keep the sub base open — his leadership in "Save the Base” leaves a lasting legacy.”
Markowicz was a 1965 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, served as a submarine officer on active duty through 1976, then continued in the Naval Reserve until his retirement after 34 years in the Navy. Markowicz cofounded Waterford defense contractor Sonalyst, in 1976. He left the company in 1994.
Markowicz became executive director of Southeastern Connecticut Enterprise Region Corp., a New London-based organization that promotes economic development.
In 2005, when the Pentagon recommended closing the submarine base in Groton, Markowicz led the local coalition that persuaded the Base Closure and Realignment Commission to keep the base open.
After that decision, Markowicz pushed to keep the base off future closure lists. “His efforts led to the creation of a Connecticut Office of Military Affairs and to an unprecedented $11 million Connecticut investment in base improvements,” Malloy’s proclamation said.
Robert Ross, executive director of the Office of Military Affairs and a former Salem first selectman, said in an email that when he last visited Markowicz, he was very upbeat.
“I think it was because he was gratified to know that we are following through on his work from the 2005 BRAC. I think he was rightfully proud of the legacy he knew he was leaving behind. He’ll be missed,” Ross wrote.
“I think my dad would be slightly embarrassed by all this attention,” Markowicz’s son, John Markowicz Jr., said. “Know that he passed on in the comfort of his own home surrounded by family.”
Markowicz is survived by his wife, Dolores “Laurie” Markowicz, two children and seven grandchildren.