John M Leopold

U.S. Veteran

August 14, 1925 – November 10, 2020

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John M. Leopold of Port Royal, Virginia and Oviedo, Florida, passed away from cancer on November 10, 2020 at the age of 95. He was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut to Veronica Hassett Leopold and Albert J. Leopold and attended Sacred Heart School and Bassick High School. Mr. Leopold volunteered to join the Navy during World War II, serving from 1943 – 1946 and earning the American Theater Medal, the Victory Medal and the Asiatic Pacific Medal. His last duty station was Pearl Harbor Naval Air Station, Hawaii. Upon his discharge from the Navy, he graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a BS degree in Electrical Engineering, earned his Professional Engineering certification, and was later a lifelong member of IEEE and the Eta Kappa Nu international honor society of IEEE. Mr. Leopold was predeceased by his wife and lifelong sweetheart, the former Barbara J. Saksa, of Nichols, Connecticut. She shared his love of family and enjoyment of entertaining at home with family and friends or business associates, including members of the Japanese Admiralty. They loved to go out for dinner and dancing, and attending receptions at the Japanese Embassy in Washington, D.C. He was also predeceased by his parents, his brothers, Albert and Alan, and his parents-in-law, Anna Wartko Saksa and William Saksa. He is survived by his daughters, Barbara L. Knerr (Dr. Bruce) of Oviedo, Florida and Dr. Anne L. Garcia (Don) of Port Royal, Virginia. He leaves six grandchildren, Amanda Knerr, Alexandra Knerr, Jennifer Feeney (Shawn), William Garcia, Grant Garcia and Katherine Garcia; and five great-grandchildren, Jessica, Kayla and Colin Feeney, Layla Gentry and Jaxsen Crawley. His sisters, Margaret Roman and Veronica Hay of Connecticut, and numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews and cousins also survive. Before graduating from the University of Rhode Island, Mr. Leopold began a 30-year career with RCA. He quickly progressed through a series of promotions to Chief Engineer of Systems Engineering. From there, he was promoted to Manager of Weapon Systems in Systems Engineering, followed by a promotion to Manager of Advanced Planning in Systems Engineering. He then became the Manager of RCA Systems Engineering, with over 500 employees in its headquarters in Springfield, Virginia and thirteen satellite systems engineering centers across the United States and Japan, to include locations in Arlington and Norfolk, Virginia, New London, Connecticut, Newport, Rhode Island, San Diego, California, and Warminster, Pennsylvania. Under his leadership, they provided systems engineering and field engineering services to the U.S. Navy (to include Life Cycle Systems Management for the Navy’s original AEGIS program), NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, and through contracts with the U.S. Navy they provided weapon systems engineering to the French Navy and the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force. Mr. Leopold retired as the RCA/General Electric Manager of the Naval Weapon Systems Division in 1988. Throughout his career, Mr. Leopold mentored young engineers and initiated RCA System Engineering’s active recruitment of women and minority engineers. One of these women was future astronaut Dr. Judy Resnik, who he recruited to join his team in Springfield, VA in 1971. There, she provided engineering support for NASA’s sounding rocket and telemetry systems programs and earned RCA’s prestigious Graduate Study Program Award. Dr. Resnick remained in close contact with her friends at RCA Systems Engineering throughout her later career as a NASA astronaut, until her untimely death in the 1986 Challenger explosion. In 1990, John and his wife moved with his mother-in-law to Winter Springs, Florida, where they enjoyed an active retired life. They were devoted member of the St. Stephens Catholic Church and he was a lifelong member of the Knights of Columbus. They belonged to the Tuskawilla Country Club where he loved playing golf and watching their grandchildren’s swim meets, along with attending numerous dance recitals, gymnastics meets and wrestling matches. Family vacations always included adventures, whether snorkeling and parasailing in the Keys, or kayaking, canoeing, skiing, or exploring vineyards in Virginia. His favorite trips included visiting his sisters in Connecticut, cruising in the Mediterranean and touring the Vatican, and exploring Ireland with his daughters and grandchildren. He equally enjoyed quiet times reading, playing board games or bridge, and having thoughtful conversations about life’s mysteries and God’s blessings. His heart belonged to his loving family, and there is nothing he enjoyed more than being with them. A funeral Mass will be held on Friday, November 27, 2020 at 10 am at St. Mary of the Annunciation Catholic Church, 10306 Ladysmith Rd., Ruther Glen, Virginia, preceded by Visitation at 9 am. Social distancing and a mask are required to attend. A military burial service will follow at 1 pm in Quantico National Cemetery, Triangle, Virginia. In lieu of flowers, donations in John’s memory may be made to St. Mary of the Annunciation Catholic Church or the St Stephen’s Catholic Community of Winter Springs, Florida. Online condolences may be left for the family at

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