When I went to my first NAVFAC as an ETRSN in 1965 it was Antigua, and there I first met Jack King. At that time, he was a highly respected first class sonarman and was in charge of operating the MILS equipment. I remember that a several months after my arrival he departed Antigua and I didn’t expect to see him again. I then unexpectedly received an early transfer from Antigua to NAVFAC Keflavik, Iceland and much to my surprise the first person I recognized on entering the “T” Building was then Chief King.
Rest in peace old friend.
While very late, and with no excuses – please allow me a few words:
I was so very saddened to learn of Jack’s passing. Since hearing, have spent many an hour thinking back to my days in N33/COSL Analysis (79-82). It was there I first met Jack. His desk was in a far and darkened corner of the FTA room, always having his desk lamp on. He spent his lunchtimes reading the paper, and doing newspaper puzzles.
Jack was my Best Man at my wedding to Carrie, and was my mentor. He taught me, enabled me, challenged me and chastised me in a way that made me want to reach his “bar”; doubtful I ever did.
After having weekend duty in the Analysis Shop, and spinning tapes for FTA – the grams were laid out for the regular crowd to look over on Monday morning, and I often had a mixed feeling of “having my poop together” vs. Jack looking over my work, and hoping I didn’t F up. Jack stood his ground on the foundation of our profession; acoustics. I will never forget the banter and confrontations between he and Ernie (rip) in the FTA room. Ernie had to deal with bean-counters and SUBLANT’s denials, yada yada. He’d bring that stuff into FTA, and Jack would let him know what the acoustics said and cared very little about the “politics”…It was so dam comical; one time, Jack took his just finished lunch bag of chicken wings and rolled them out on the long FTA table for Ernie to see if some mojo magic would help with a decision that acoustics couldn’t support. Funny is an understatement.
Jack often talked about when retirement came for him - all he wanted to do was tend to his rose garden. I hope his wish came true. I know Ernie, Phil (it was his tie), & Stan welcomed his entry to the promised land – Ernie again has his very close friend by his side.
Thank you, one and all, for your condolences and wonderful memories of my Jack. His last year, and especially his last three months, were very difficult as he descended ever more deeply into dementia. I managed to keep him at home with no interlopers until his last week on Earth. He went from ER to hospital to a hospice house all in that week. You will enjoy this: After 2.5 days of neither opening his eyes nor responding to anyone, the girls at the hospice house bathed him upon his arrival. Jack opened his eyes and smiled at them. The staff and I got a big laugh. How Jack! I gave him a beautiful military funeral. The officiant was our close neighbor who knew Jack well and loved him. She is a retired Episcopal priest. Her homily was intensely personal to him. A BM1 came down from NOSC Quincy, just outside of Boston, and, after the congregation sang the Navy Hymn, he piped Jack's ashes ashore when the priest carried them out of the church. An Honor Guard came over from Newport. I had held it together until the bugler blew the first bar of Taps out on the front lawn of the church. Traffic stopped along the busy Rte 6A when drivers saw the sailors folding the flag and presenting it to me. What respect! I am heartbroken and feel Jack's loss as an intensely physical rending. Enough of that. John Ellis, Randy Scott, and Al Brandt especially -- you will never know how your notes have been helping me through. Randy, your note at the obituary website had a deep impact on Jack's kids, who hadn't realized his contributions to national security. Oh, and Jack did the chicken bones one other time (at least) on the plot in front of the FTA for Mike Burnett, his nemesis from FOSIC. Burnett turned so purple I thought he would have a coronary! Jack, Ernie and Phil are all laughing at this memory from the other side. Grateful to all. I miss you all. Mary Ann King
I can't believe I failed to say that Jack Holdzkom provided a LOT of administrative support after my Jack passed -- hours of help drafting the obituary and then advice on the military details of the funeral. Thanks Jack!
For Mark Heuser: Signing off as "Ma".