On March 8, 2019, David L. McConagha, Retired Captain U. S. Navy, beloved husband of Jeanette M. McConagha; devoted father of Heather McConagha-MacNaughton & her husband Deacon, Pat McConagha & his wife Kay, Deidre Austen & her husband Ed, and Marty McConagha & his wife Shannon; cherished grandfather of Rhiyana, Jamison, Jay, Kacey, Alyssa, Clay, Cameron and Mackenzie; dear brother of Linda Kelly & her husband Lew, Nancy Tishkoff & her husband Stuart and Susan Donaldson & her husband Lynn; valued uncle to many nieces and nephews.
David was born on September 21, 1941, in Columbus, Ohio to Ralph and Martha McConagha. Following graduation from Reynoldsburg High School, David attended Muskingum College then transferred to the Ohio State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics. While working towards his degrees, he married Jeanette Myers of Reynoldsburg in August 1962.
In 1964, David embarked on a twenty-seven-year naval career with more than twenty-five years flight experience with the A-3B and EA-6B aircraft. His career included teaching mathematics at the US Naval Academy Preparatory School at the Naval Training Center in Bainbridge and flight training in Pensacola, Florida and NAS Whidbey in Washington State. As a young navigator, David flew photographic reconnaissance and combat missions with VAP 61 in Vietnam from 1967 to 1969. David later served as a Naval ROTC instructor at Dartmouth College while earning a Master’s degree in Operations Research/Systems Analysis. David’s career continued with stations at NAS Norfolk with the electronic warfare squadron VAQ 33 and a return to NAS Whidbey Island where he was a plank owner in VAQ 138 and commanding officer of VAQ 132. His squadron’s deployments included tours on the aircraft carriers Saratoga and Dwight D. Eisenhower. During his tenure at NAS Whidbey, David attended and graduated from the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.
In 1983, David was transferred to the Pentagon where he held successive positions in the offices of the Chief of Naval Operations and the Director for Operations, Joint Staff. David was directly involved with policy, requirements, and operational control of U.S. military forces. Upon retirement from the Navy in 1991, David continued to serve our country as the Director, Office of Weapons Surety for the U.S. Department of Energy. His responsibilities included nuclear weapons safety, security, and coordination with the Department of Defense. In the international arena, David contributed to both the North Atlantic Treaty Organization nuclear weapons safety and security programs, and cooperative surety efforts with the United Kingdom. He travelled frequently to the republics of the former Soviet Union to assist in the safe, secure dismantlement of their nuclear weapons. David retired from the Department of Energy in 1997.
David was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Fleet Reserve Association, Military Officers Association, and a lifetime member of the Vietnam Veterans of America. Along with other commendations, he was awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal (with gold star), multiple Navy Air Medals and Strike/Flight Awards, Navy Unit Commendation (with one bronze star), Navy Expeditionary Medal, National Defense Service Medal (with one bronze star), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service Medal (with one silver star), Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (with one bronze star), Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation (with one bronze star), and the Meritorious Service Medal.
David served several tenures as Senior Warden at Grace Episcopal Church in Brunswick, Maryland. In retirement, David became an active member of the American Legion, Post 166 in Ocean City Maryland. David was a long-time member of the Barbershop Harmony Society, and was recognized as Barbershopper-of-the-Year when singing with the Catoctones in Frederick, Maryland. He later spent countless happy hours rehearsing and performing with The Chorus of the Chesapeake and singing baritone in several quartets. David’s retirement afforded him time to boat on the Susquehanna River, volunteer at the USNTC Museum in Bainbridge, Maryland, and visit Ireland to explore first-hand the genealogy he had spent so much time researching. David also was an avid attendee at sports and school events for his grandchildren. Some of David’s favorite days were filled with Ocean City trips in his convertible, listening to Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline, with his dog Eli by his side.
A Service will be held at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 303 N. Main Street, Bel Air, MD, 21014, on March 30 at 11:00 A.M. The family invites all to attend a luncheon and reception to celebrate David's life directly following the service. It was David's wish that all wear bright colors to the service.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the American Legion Synepuxent, Post #166, P.O. Box 63, Ocean City, MD, 21843 or to Maryland Parkinson's Support by visiting maryland.parkinsonsupport.org.