Robert J. Coontz, Navy captain

March 1, 2013

Robert J. Coontz, 87, a retired Navy captain who specialized in computers and information systems, died of pneumonia Jan. 26 at Inova Alexandria Hospital. He was a resident of Alexandria.

His daughter, Constance Coontz Mazelsky, confirmed his death.

Capt. Coontz, the son and grandson of Navy officers, retired from the Navy in 1979 after 35 years of service. He later was a technical writer and consultant for Techplan and other defense contractors in the Washington area.

Robert Joseph Coontz was born in Alexandria. His father died when Capt. Coontz was an infant, and he grew up in Bristol, Tenn., with his mother, stepfather and stepbrothers.

He joined the Navy in 1944 as an enlisted man. After World War II, he attended the U.S. Naval Academy and graduated in 1949. During the Korean War, he was a naval gunfire spotter aboard battleship-based helicopters.

In the early 1960s, he was one of several officers assigned to the Naval Tactical Data System, a computerized information system for combat ships. In the 1970s, he was assistant for automation for the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon.

His decorations included the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Air Medal.

Capt. Coontz was a member of the Sons of the American Revolution and the Masons.

His wife, Patricia Patrick Coontz, whom he married in 1955, died in 2004.

Survivors include three children, Robert J. Coontz Jr. of Alexandria, Kenneth L. Coontz II of Toronto, and Constance Coontz Mazelsky of Falmouth, Maine; a stepbrother; and three grandchildren.

— Bart Barnes

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