With his family by his side, and with dignity and grace, Walter John Kozak of Lake Monticello, Virginia succumbed to pancreatic cancer on August 10, 2023, and moved on to his next destination.
Born on October 1, 1949, in Augsburg, Germany, Walt immigrated to Northampton, Massachusetts with his mother, Blanche, father Jozef and brother Joseph in 1957 and with pride, became a naturalized citizen in June 1969. He was a member of the Northampton High School class of 1969.
In 1972, Walt graduated from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy with a Bachelor in Nautical Science Degree and a commission in the United States Naval Reserve. Walt married Marilyn Elliott of Northampton on August 17, 1974. After sailing for Mobil Oil, Walt and Marilyn moved to the Washington, D.C. area when he joined the Defense Mapping Agency (now NGA, the National Geospatial - Intelligence Agency) where he worked for 30 years. Walt was instrumental in developing and implementing the “paperless bridge” electronic navigation program for submarines and surface vessels. He was highly regarded by his colleagues and humbly received many accolades and commendations. After retiring from NGA, Walt concluded his professional career with JB&A as a contractor supporting NGA and Navy programs. Walt was proud that he spent over 30 years keeping the seas safe.
Walt and Marilyn moved to the Lake full-time in 2011 where he enjoyed entertaining family and friends, boating and fishing with their five grandchildren, woodworking and volunteering for Habitat, Meals on Wheels, Jefferson’s Monticello and serving on the Lake’s Buildings, Roads and Grounds Committee.
Walt is survived by his wife, Marilyn of Lake Monticello; daughter Karol Kozak Lester, her husband David and their children Lila, Hayes and Elijah of Charlottesville, Va.; daughter Emily Kozak Hinson and husband Billy and their sons, William and Knox of Tequesta, Fla. Survivors also include Walt’s brother Joseph Kozak, his wife Susan and their daughter Olivia Kozak and her husband, Kiril Tchaliov; Walt’s sister Veronica; his aunt Aniela Gryszan and his cousins, Regina Beyer and Jimmy Gryszan.
An avid Red Sox and Patriots fan, faithful in friendships and his Catholic church, generous with his time and talents, Walt loved his family deeply and it was a privilege to be with him as he returned “home.” Rest easy, Walt. Your job is done. We have the watch.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, August 26, 2023 at St. Thomas Aquinas University Parish in Charlottesville, Va., followed by a reception.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy (maritime.edu) in Walter’s name.
Hill & Wood Funeral Service is handling the arrangements. Condolences may be sent to the family on the Tribute Wall.