John Lawrence Nafziger
Chesapeake – John Lawrence (Larry) Nafziger passed away on July 19, 2015 in Chesapeake, VA due to complications from a stroke he suffered a couple of years earlier. He was born in Philadelphia, PA on May 06, 1946 to Ezra George and Anna Sensenich (Erb) Nafziger. For a brief period he lived in Lancaster County, PA. Upon the divorce of his parents, he moved with his mother and sister back to Philadelphia. While there, he was an active member of the Boy Scouts of America that helped him develop a love for the great outdoors. In 1960 his mother remarried. The family moved to Cape Canaveral, FL where he spent his teen years. There he learned to love the ocean. Shortly after graduating from Cocoa High School he attended Brevard Junior College. But, this was the Vietnam War era and he soon decided to enlist into the United States Navy.
He retired from the Navy in 1989 with a rank of Senior Chief Petty Officer after serving for 22 years. He played an integral part from the beginning to the end in the commissioning of 3 nuclear submarines: USS Bluefish, USS Los Angeles, and USS Atlanta. Though his main position was Sonar Technician, in the world of submarines, everyone had to have a working knowledge of everyone else’s job.
Upon retiring, he soon became a Navy contractor as a computer programmer and systems analyst now known as AECom (originally known as EG & G and later URS Federal Services). He retired in 2013 after more than 24 years of service as a computer engineer. He was known for his careful attention to detail, designing software programs for submarines, troubleshooting and correcting program problems that stumped others. He loved his work and preferred to take little time off. When he did, it was difficult for those who took his place, to fill his shoes.
One of his workmates at Sublant invited him to Apostles Lutheran Church. He soon became very active with several of their ministries. Most notable was his devotion to doing sound control and recordings for church services, choir practices, children programs, weddings, funerals, baptisms and whatever else asked of him. After he made the recordings, the real work began. He would go home and tweak the recordings to perfection before the CD’s were distributed to the church to archive, share, learn from, or enjoy as a keepsake of a special event.
He never married but was loved by many. For the majority of his Navy years, he rarely was stationed away from Norfolk, Virginia. After the Navy, he chose to stay in the Chesapeake area. He enjoyed nature and outdoor exercise through hiking, camping, biking, swimming, and fishing. When he did take off from work, he would travel with friends to see natural sites throughout the United States. He was fascinated by whales, dolphins, and other sea mammals. He enjoyed making recordings of them ‘talking’. Birds were special to him as well. Early on he raised pigeons, a bit later he raised finches; and then, he simply enjoyed the sheer pleasure of watching birds in his yard.
He was preceded in death by his mother, father and step-father, Clayton W. Spangenberg. He is survived by a sister, Janet N. Howard of Hawthorne, Florida, a half-sister, Cheryl Lynn (Nafziger) Leyla, a half-brother, Richard Keith Nafziger, both of Washington state and a large family of uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces, & nephews.
In lieu of flowers the family requests contributions be made to Apostles Lutheran Church general fund, or its PROMOTE Family Preschool and Childcare, or its Community Center construction project, or to your favorite humanitarian charity in his honor.
A memorial service will be held Wednesday, July 29, 2015 at 3 pm at Apostles Lutheran Church located at 370 Johnstown Rd., Chesapeake, VA 23322. His ashes will be placed at The Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, 525 Minutemen Causeway, Cocoa Beach, FL 32931 in their memorial garden near his mother and step-father’s ashes.
Cremation Society of Virginia is assisting the family.