Joseph Gildea (1928 - 2019)

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Service Information
Money and King Funeral Home
171 Maple Avenue W
Vienna, VA
22180
(703)-938-7440
Funeral Mass
Thursday, Sep. 26, 2019
12:45 PM
Ft. Myer Memorial Chapel, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall
101 McNair Road
Ft. Myer, VA
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Notice

Gildea Joseph A. Gildea Captain, USN (Ret.) Captain Joseph A. Gildea, USN (Ret.) passed away suddenly on April 24, 2019 at the age of 90. Loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle, Captain Gildea lived a life of honor, duty, faith and love. Born in Hollidaysburg, PA to Raymond L. Gildea and Madeline Clark Gildea on November 23, 1928, he was the third of their five children. He grew up in that small town during the Depression and World War II learning early lessons of loyalty and service. Already a strong patriot, at the age of 17, he enlisted in the United States Army to help in the United States' post WWII rebuilding efforts around the world. As a member of the 593rd Ordnance Battalion, he was sent to Japan after basic training where his significant mechanical and engineering skills (learned from his railroad engineer father) were put to good use. From that early deployment and experience, he became committed to a lifetime of military service dedicated to the protection of our country and our allies. Upon his return to the US mainland, he initially received an appointment to the United States Military Academy but chose to enroll at Pennsylvania State University. However, his intellect and capabilities had been identified by the military and, as a result, he received an appointment to the United States Naval Academy, which he accepted in 1949 and joined the Ninth Company. Upon graduation in 1953, he was assigned to the USS Rush (DDR-714). He subsequently met the love of his life at an Army-Navy Football game and in May 1955 he married Dr. Sheila A. Murphy, DPM, of Woonsocket, Rhode Island and they began their 63-year adventure together. In September 1955, Captain Gildea was ordered to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and upon graduation in 1958, received a Degree of Master of Science in Marine Engineering and a Professional Degree of Naval Engineer. Following MIT, and designation in 1958 as an Engineering Duty Officer, were tours at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard (1958-1960); USS Hancock(CVA-19) (1960-1962); Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (1962-1963); Supervisor of Shipbuilding FOUR, Camden, New Jersey (1963-1967); he served as the first Chief Engineer of the USS John F. Kennedy(CVA-67) upon its commissioning (1969-1971); Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (1971-1974) and Defense Attaché Office, Saigon (1974-1975). He was the most senior U.S. naval officer left in Vietnam as Saigon fell and was a member of the last contingent of Americans evacuated from South Vietnam by Marine helicopter on April 29, 1975. His helicopter lifted off on that day from Tan Son Nhut airport just as enemy missiles landed killing the last two United States Marines in Vietnam at that time. Captain Gildea had been in charge of helping the Vietnamese Naval shipyard and facility modernization and overhauling ships and craft of their Navy. His next assignment was at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard as planning officer and in 1978 he became the Director of Military Personnel, Naval Sea Systems Command, and Engineering Duty Officer Detailer, Bureau of Naval Personnel. His final military duty assignment was as the Commanding Officer of the Long Beach Naval Shipyard from 1979 to 1983. In that role, leading more than 6000 workers, he oversaw the re-commissioning of the World War II Battleship USS New Jersey (BB-62). President Ronald Reagan honored Captain Gildea for that successful effort at the New Jersey's re-commissioning ceremony. Captain Gildea was awarded and earned the following decorations: The Legion of Merit Medal; Navy Meritorious Service Medal with Gold Star; Navy Commendation Medal with Gold Star; Navy Unit Commendation; National Defense Service Medal; WWII Victory Medal; Occupation Medal; and Vietnam Service Medal. After his retirement from the Navy in 1983, Joe and Sheila traveled to the Middle East where he worked for several years with Hughes Bendix before returning to the United States to work for NASA and McDonnell Douglas at Cape Canaveral helping to design, build, and create the space station that is orbiting the world today. Captain Gildea and his wife had four children and a wonderful, devoted partnership. They traveled all over the world visiting nearly every continent. He was strong, smart, loyal and steady. He was incredibly proud to have been a member of United States Navy, a USNA and MIT graduate and to have served our country with honor and dedication. He was a loving, supportive husband and a source of constant strength as father and grandfather. His final years were spent enjoying any time he could with his family on boats, beaches, lakes and at the oceans he loved so much. He volunteered in many organizations including serving as a National Director of the Navy League, the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, and the American Society of Naval Engineers. He was a Senior Member of the Knights of Columbus, and life-long member of Rotary International. In his retirement, he was a board member at his retirement community of military retirees, where he and Sheila lived for 15 years. He ran the hobby shop there using his engineering skills to fix virtually anything his neighbors broke and organized annual trips for them to attend Naval Academy football games. He remained active with his Class of '53 and with the USNA, attending monthly luncheons and major reunions. He also especially enjoyed spending time sitting on a porch anywhere with any family member. Joe was predeceased by his beloved wife Sheila on June 26, 2018. He is survived by a large extended family including his four adoring children, Andrew J. Gildea, Esq (Lorie Skjerven Gildea, Esq), Commander Daniel H. Gildea USNA "80, Maureen Gildea Mann, MS, MBA (David Mann, Esq), and Deirdre Gildea Johnson, Esq (Jeffrey Johnson, Esq). He is also survived by his brothers Richard Gildea, Thomas Gildea; his sister, Judy Gildea McLaughlin; his grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. His sister Jeanne, predeceased him. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him. Captain Gildea's Funeral Mass will be at the Ft. Myer Memorial Chapel, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, 101 McNair Road, Ft. Myer, VA on September 26, 2019 at 12:45 p.m. followed by his burial at Arlington National Cemetery. Immediately thereafter, the Gildea Family will host a reception at the Washington Golf & Country Club, 3017 N. Glebe Road, Arlington, Virginia. Online condolences and fond memories of Joe may be offered to the family at www.moneyandking.com Captain Gildea's Funeral Mass will be at the Ft. Myer Memorial Chapel, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, 101 McNair Road, Ft. Myer, VA on September 26, 2019 at 12:45 p.m. followed by his burial at Arlington National Cemetery. Immediately thereafter, the Gildea Family will host a reception at the Washington Golf & Country Club, 3017 N. Glebe Road, Arlington, Virginia. Online condolences and fond memories of Joe may be offered to the family at www.moneyandking.com
Published in The Washington Post on Sept. 22, 2019
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Funeral Home Details
Vienna, VA   (703) 938-7440
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