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Nicholas Monaco, Jr.
Service: To be announced at a later date
Location: Arlington National Cemetery

Nicholas Monaco, Jr.

Duty, Honor, Country

Nick hails (proudly!) from Kearny, New Jersey. His grandparents had courageously immigrated from Italy and Poland in the early 1900s with a dream of a better life. This was realized in part when Nick had the honor of being awarded an appointment to the United States Military Academy (West Point) and the privilege of joining the great graduating Class of 1957. He was the oldest of four, playing the dutiful role of big brother to Tom, Marion and Joe.

Upon graduation, Nick was commissioned into the Corps of Engineers and married "his little Polish girlfriend," Theresa Szymczyk. They had two lovely children, daughter Christine (Tine), born in Monterey, California in 1958, and son, Nick, born in Frankfurt, West Germany in 1961. They were scheduled to return stateside in the summer of 1961 but the Berlin Wall was just going up and all officer reassignments were frozen. They eventually returned, settling in Rockville, Maryland in 1962.

His first assignment in his short active duty career was with the 547th Combat Engineer Battalion. He was assigned to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), resigning his commission in 1964 and becoming a civilian employee, working with the AEC (which became the Energy Research & Development Agency – ERDA) and eventually with an ERDA offshoot, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

Nick always had a deep and abiding appreciation for the privilege he was given of being a member of USMA ’57 and the Long Gray Line. His connection to his classmates was particularly strong, and he remained involved with the class for the sixty years following his graduation. He edited the class newsletter for nearly 30 years, he was the tactical coordinator for many of their class reunions, and was an organizer of their regular class luncheons, even barking out orders to fellow classmates from his hospital bed in the last few months.

For his supreme dedication to the class, he was awarded the USMA Class of 1957 Annual Medal for the year 2016. It was presented at a class luncheon in September of 2017, accepted in Nick’s absence by his son and daughter-in-law, who proudly shared it with him bedside soon after, much to his surprise and delight.

The 1990s found much change for Nick. He retired in 1996, and remarried in 1999, finding a loving partner in Brenda (aka "Brendie") Burkevich, and gaining a loving stepdaughter, Stacy and stepson, Greg, along the way. Greg was warmly embraced despite being an Air Force Academy graduate.

While Nick found the freedom that comes with being fully retired, those of you who know him know that means he only took on more and more work, this time as a sort of global, social scribe. Nick never met a newsletter he didn't like, and he wholeheartedly took on the task of writing, editing and distributing newsletters, not only for the USMA Class of '57, but also for the Polish Club of Rockville and the Italian Cultural Society. A lover of languages, he could also be heard babbling in Italian, Portuguese, Finnish, Polish, German, and even Papiamento (the native language of Bonaire, an island that his son and daughter-in-law visit frequently – once even with Nick and Brenda in tow).

The Italian came in particularly handy when Nick reconnected with cousins in Postiglione, Italy. He had met them briefly while stationed overseas in the early 1960s, and picked the connection back up again later in life. He made several excursions to the homeland, sometimes with the entire American family coming along for the ride. The laughter, the meals and the wine were endless. He was the glue that provided a deep family connection over many miles and many years.

Nick was a giving soul, embracing everyone he met and providing support in all sorts of loving ways (tangible and emotional) to anyone who needed a helping hand. The home that he and Brenda made in Montgomery Village was sort of an Airbnb for anyone who needed a place to rest their head, and he was an Uber driver before that even became a thing. Nick and Brenda have provided a loving home to many cats, and they fostered many strays (both human and feline). Nick even took on the local wildlife population, feeding and caring for foxes, deer, squirrels, birds, and any number of other critters that wandered by their Montgomery Village backyard.

Nick's write-up in the 1957 Howitzer, the USMA Yearbook, was remarkably prophetic. It reads: "From the mosquito laden swamps of New Jersey came Nick; the local boy made good. Here we know he made good – good as a staunch, reliable and utterly dependable classmate. A man who is no stranger to sincere effort and hard work, he still possesses the levity of spirit to make one laugh in the darkest of moments. A loyal friend and promising soldier, Nick is a man with whom all who know him have been proud to serve."

The traits he obviously exhibited as a young man ready to take on the world only deepened over time. He stayed true to that man, becoming someone we all deeply admired and loved.

Nick will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery. Details will be shared as they become available. Expressions of sympathy can be made to the family. Donations in his memory to the following organizations would be appreciated. The work they do means a lot to him and Brenda.

WPAOG Long Gray Line Fund: https://www.westpointaog.org/LongGrayLineFund

Friends of Montgomery County Animals: www.fmca.org

 

Wife: Brenda Monaco (Burkevich)

Children: Christine Waters (Dan); Nick Monaco (Britta); Stepdaughter Stacy Turner (Greg)

Siblings: Tom Monaco (Jenny); Marion Taylor (Brooks); Joe Monaco (Carol)

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