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 Nancy Louise (Sowa) Koenig

Nancy Louise (Sowa) Koenig, 2 time survivor of Cancer, lost her third battle with this terrible disease on April 10, 2015 at the age of 79.  Nancy passed away peacefully at home surrounded by her adoring family.Nancy was born in Corpus Christi, Texas on December 11, 1935 to George Alexander Sowa and Mary Magdalene (Gower) Sowa.  She attended the Incarnate Word Academy, a highly respected Catholic school, in Corpus Christi, Texas.  Nancy was a loyal Secretary for the American General Life and Accident Insurance Company in Corpus Christi, as well as the Texas Insurance Commission in Austin.  During this time, she met and fell in love with a dashing young Navy Midshipman named John “Weldon” Koenig.  Weldon and Nancy courted for 6 months, were engaged for 3 years and finally married on February 1, 1958.  Weldon and Nancy lived the Navy life for 31 exciting years, travelling, meeting new people and making many new friends.  Nancy worked in Framingham, Massachusetts and New London, Connecticut to help support the family during the years that Weldon was a junior officer and did not receive enough compensation to support the family alone.   Nancy also was the Executive Secretary for Trident Academy in Charleston, SC, filling in for the Head Master on numerous occasions.  She also served as a Red Cross Gray Lady at the United States Naval Hospital in Charleston, SC.  Nancy is most remembered for being a loving and devoted mother of three, a caring and dedicated wife for 57 years, and the very glue that held her family together. Most recently, Nancy devoted her time volunteering for St. Marks Medical Center as a member of the Auxiliary, focusing her attention on the Emergency Room and Staff. Nancy was very involved with St. James Episcopal Church, where she felt at home immediately.  She served as a Vestry Member, an exceptional Lector, and as a Member of the Alter Guild.  Nancy enjoyed cooking, reading, traveling, helping others, and especially bringing family and friends together for food, fun and memories, which just so happened to be her favorite song (“Memories” from the Musical ‘Cats’).  Family was her life and it extended past her husband and children.  Many of her nieces and nephews thought of her as a mother figure to them as well.  Nancy also enjoyed a glass of her favorite Chardonnay, swinging on the porch of the country home, listening to the birds, cows and horses as they spoke and enjoyed many of the beautiful sunsets.  She finally settled in the home she always wanted with big covered porches and the atmosphere of home, and was able to spend her last days and hours of her life here. Nancy showed much grace when meeting people of great responsibility and authority.  She met and visited with the likes of (then) Vice President George H.W. and Barbara Bush, Admiral H.G. Rickover and his wife, Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger and his wife, and many, many more.  Even though she was apprehensive about meeting new people, she was a natural when socializing and an artist when hosting events.  The life of a U. S. Navy Officer’s wife was always complicated.  Examples are hosting strange people in your home, while making sure that your young children did well in school.  It was common for her to have to adjust to a new place on a moment’s notice. Nancy was an amazing woman who often was left standing on the pier while her husband departed on a mission at sea for a period of time and to a place that was never identified. Nancy is preceded in death by her parents, George Alexander and Mary Magdalene (Gower) Sowa, her brother George “Pat” Sowa and her parents-in-law, John Henry and Elva Marguerite (Oeding) Koenig.  She is survived by her husband, Weldon Koenig, her three children, Christopher Scott Koenig (and wife, Cristina), Jennifer Anne (Koenig) Hill (and fiancé Charles Thornhill) and Andrew Lee Koenig (and wife, Dawn); grandchildren Andrew Lee Koenig, Jr. and Kelsey Dawn Koenig; sisters Claudia “Diane” (Sowa) Greene and Cheryl Marie (Sowa) Mahlke; brothers Harold Wayne Sowa (and wife, Mona) and John Robert Sowa (and wife, Pamela); and her brother Pat’s wife Karen, who also selflessly cared for Nancy in the last weeks of her life.  Nancy was able to see and visit with all of her siblings and most of her nieces and nephews shortly before she went to the Lord, which made her last days truly special for her. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be sent to St. James Episcopal Church Endowment, located at 156 North Monroe Street, P. O. Box 507, La Grange, Texas 78945, St. Marks Medical Center Foundation at One St. Mark’s Place, La Grange, Texas 78945, American Cancer Society www.cancer.org/donate, or the charity of your choice.  The family wishes to extend special thanks to St. Marks Medical Center, especially Dr. Thomas Borgstedt, who cared for Nancy for over a week in March, and the special ladies with Hospice Brazos Valley, who really walked the family through the losing of a dear loved one with phenomenal grace and kindness.

Capt. Byron A. Cyr, Sr., USN, Ret.

Asheville - Capt. Byron A. Cyr, USN (Ret.) died of a stroke at Mission Hospital on Wednesday, April 8, 2015. He was 82 years old.

A native of Portsmouth, N.H., Byron graduated from Portsmouth High School in June 1950 and joined the navy shortly after the outbreak of the Korean War. He attended NAPS at Bainbridge, MD and entered the Naval Academy with a SECNAV appointment in July 1952. He graduated 1 June 1956 in the 14th Company.

Byron's first duty station was the USS Yorktown (CVS-10) where he served two years as the assistant fire-control officer. He then volunteered for submarine duty and upon completion of six months training at SUBASE, New London reported to USS Irex (SS 482) for what became a three year tour of duty. Following a one year tour at SUBASE NLON he reported as pre-commissioning and commissioning navigator of USS Daniel Webster (SSBN 626Gold).

In 1964, eight years away from academics and with some degree of apprehension, Byron was off to Nuclear Power School. Successful completion of this was followed by a tour as navigator on USS Patrick Henry (SSBN 599), executive officer on USS Will Rogers (SSBN 659) and then a two year tour on SUBPAC Staff, Pearl Harbor. His last tour of sea duty was as Commanding Officer USS Henry Clay (SSBN 625). Byron finished his active duty on the Staff CINCPAC.

Byron started experiencing heart problems in 1978 with a heart attack which led to retirement in 1979. A second heart attack occurred in 1980 and eventually led to a quintuple bypass surgery in 1982. Physical problems continued over the years which included a quadruple bypass surgery in 1999 and a diagnosis of chronic congestive heart failure in 2001. He stayed very active with tennis and golf (until 2001), dancing and yard work. He was an avid reader, spending at least 4 hours a day reading various books and magazines and of course newspapers on his computer.

During his career, Byron was awarded the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal with Gold Star, National Defense Medal and expert Pistol Medal with "E". While in command of Henry Clay, the ship was awarded the Battle Efficiency "E" and Engineering "E" in March 1975.

One week after graduation in 1956 Byron married his high school sweetheart, Joan Louther. They had three children; Elizabeth, Byron Jr., and Victoria. After 30 years of happy married life, Joni passed away in 1986, following a seven year battle with cancer. In 1987, Byron met Gail Roland and they were married in 1992. Byron is survived by Gail, his three children, four grandchildren and several nephews and nieces. He is also survived by his three sisters, Evelyn Tremblay, Rita McNeil and Gloria Smith. 

A funeral mass will be held on Thursday, April 16, 2015 at 10:30 AM at St. Barnabas Catholic Church in Arden with Father Adrian Porras officiating. The family will receive friends following the service at the church. Burial will follow at a later date in Arlington National Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to either the American Heart Association or to the American Cancer Society . 

An online memorial register is available at www.grocefuneralhome.com


Captain John Edward McNish, USN, Ret.

John (Jack) McNish died suddenly and peacefully on April 3, 2015 at his home in Charlottesville, Virginia.  He lived a full 81 years and is survived by his wife, Joan McNish, his children Karen and Michael, and his 5 grandchildren.  He was preceded in death by his first wife, Eleanor and his two sisters, Peggy and Jeannie.Jack was born and raised in New Jersey.  He was selected for the US Naval Academy and graduated from there in 1955. Shortly after graduation, he married Eleanor Specht in the Naval Academy chapel.  His service in the Navy started on diesel submarines and then he entered Admiral Rickover’s nuclear program. His 30 year service in the submarines included the USS Thresher, Tecumseh, Grant, and finally as commanding officer of the USS Halibut. He finished his Naval career as commander of ComSubGroup 7 in Japan and at the Pentagon where he met his second wife, Joan Reynolds. After retiring, Jack and Joan moved to Annapolis Maryland where he developed naval systems at Westinghouse/Northrop Gruman.Jack retired in 1995 to Wintergreen, Virginia. He enjoyed wine tasting, gardening, and socializing with his many friends and classmates in then area.Jack moved to Charlottesville in 2013 and found new interests in creative writing, opera and reading. He was never far from a Soduku puzzle.Jack is remembered by his perpetual smile and his loud, frequent laugh. He was a true gentleman, yet exuded unquestioned authority. Visitation for Jack McNish will be held at Hill & Wood Funeral Home at 201 North lst Street in Charlottesville on April 10 from 6 to 8 pm. His funeral will be held at 11:00 a.m. on April 11 at Holy Cross Episcopal Church (he was a member for six years) on route 635 (right at Liberty Gas Station, go four miles, Holy Cross on right).  Father Tony Andres, priest of Holy Cross and personal friend of Jack’s, will officiate.

Interment will be at the Naval Academy chapel service at 11am and from there to the USNA Columbarium


Captain Bob Rawlins, USN, Ret.

Captain Bob Rawlins passed away from liver cancer on 3/30/15.
Captain Robert (Bob) Rawlins, USN(Ret.) was a well-respected Commanding Officer of USS TRITON (SSN586) and it was a pleasure to serve under his command!







CAPT Charles Wesley Rush, Jr., USN, Ret.

Charles Wesley Rush, Jr., Captain, U.S.N., Retired, 95, of Port St Lucie, Florida passed away on February 27, 2015 in his home surrounded by loved ones. Charlie, son of Charles W. Rush, Sr. and Dorothy McFaddin, was born in Greensboro, Alabama on March 18, 1919. He is survived by his wife, LaVonne Rush, his children, Michelle Liset, Suzanne Oken, and Stephen Rush, his stepchildren, Timothy Dirks, Darcy Kimmel, Marcine Stone, James Dirks, David Dirks, Dale Dirks, and many grandchildren and great grandchildren. Charlie spent his youth in Dothan, Alabama. In 1935, he was awarded a scholarship to Gulf Coast Military Academy in Gulfport, Mississippi. He graduated from GCMA in 1937 with highest honors and received an appointment to the Naval Academy from the Secretary of the Navy. After graduation from the Naval Academy on February 7, 1941, Charlie served on destroyers in the Pacific until he volunteered for submarine duty while in Pearl Harbor. He was assigned to the submarines USS Thresher and USS Billfish for seven war patrols in the South Pacific and East Indies. On his sixth patrol, Billfish was attacked by three Japanese destroyers that made extremely severe depth-charge attacks over a period of 12 hours. These attacks rendered the Captain and all officers senior to Charlie unable to take action. Charlie, then a Lieutenant, took command in the face of seemingly certain death, saved the ship and the entire crew. Nearly 60 years later, when the facts of his actions were revealed, the Navy awarded Charlie its highest honor, the Navy Cross. Post-war, Charlie attended graduate school at Caltech in Aeronautical Engineering and developed a number of submarine-launched missiles, including a notable high-speed wake-less torpedo. He served in command of the submarines USS Queenfish and USS Blackfin before retiring from the Navy in 1961. In civilian life, Charlie was a member of the Royal Ocean Racing Club of England, Sons of the American Revolution, and Submarine Veterans of World War II. Charlie and his wife, LaVonne, were married in October 1976 at the Naval Academy. Avid fans of ocean sailing, Charlie and LaVonne sailed their boat, Windward Star, throughout the Bahamas and Caribbean in their retirement. Charlie's ashes will be spread at sea. A private memorial will be held. May he rest in peace.

See more at: CAPT Charles W. Rush, Jr., USN, Ret.

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