David Maynard Stembel, Jr. – Captain, United States Navy

Courtesy of the United States Naval Academy & Mrs. Judy Stembel, Navy Wife:

dmstembel David M. Stembel Jr., Captain United States Navy (retired), a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, died of complications of Crohn’s disease 10 July 1995 at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Maryland.

After graduation from the United States Naval Academy in 1955 he attended MIT, earning a Master of Science in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering and a Naval Engineer’s degree. He was a member of Tau Beta Pi and Sigma Xi honorary engineering societies.

Dave was a plank owner in the USS Forrestal (CVA 59) and served as engineer office aboard the USS Dewey (DLG 14), on Staff Service Force Sixth Fleet in Naples, Italy, and as engineer officer aboard the USS America (CVA 66) where he and his crew earned her the Big Red E with two hash marks. After nine years of sea duty in the first fifteen years of our marriage this ED (!) went on to serve in various capacities at NAVSEA including Combatant Ship Logistic Manager for all cruisers, destroyers and frigates. Before his retirement in 1985 he was for five years the Project Manager for the Oliver Hazard Perry Class guided Missile Frigates. He delivered 40 ships to the United States Navy and four to the Royal Australian Navy. This was the largest peacetime surface combatant acquisition program since WWII, and the largest number of ships delivered by a single project manager — most of them ahead of schedule and under cost.

To say that Dave retired reluctantly is a massive understatement. I think he’d have worked for free if the Navy would have let him, but by now the Crohn’s was diagnosed and retirement inevitable. In 1985 he joined the firm of System Planning Corporation. His inability to do any job with less than 100% effort ensured that he became a valuable member of the organization. For all of Dave’s professional life he was known to be fiercely loyal to and caring of the people he worked for, those he worked with, and those who worked for him.

Dave was an avid gardener; our yard is eloquent testament to years of hard work creating an extraordinary space. He loved the opera with a passion and in recent years he was a docent in The Washington Opera’s new educational program. For ten years while our kids were there he was The Voice of Montgomery Blair High School, announcing all football and basketball games and swim meets. Dave and I were always a team. He was intensely proud of me as I was of him — and of our children; David III architect in Philadelphia, John William computer specialist in Atlanta, and Wendy Bozzi who is a Special Education teacher in Phoenix. He was a doting grandfather to David’s Calder and Wendy’s Meagan and John.

Dave’s ashes were buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery following a service at the Fort Myer Post Chapel at 2 PM Wednesday 19 July 1995 in Section 1, just a few steps away from the beautiful obelisk marking the grave of cousin Rear Admiral Roger Nelson Stembel, hero of the Civil War.

Respectfully submitted, Judy Stembel, Navy wife.

Read our general and most popular articles

Leave a Comment