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George J. Kovich Jr., Marine Corps officer

By — Adam Bernstein,

George J. Kovich Jr., 93, a retired Marine Corps lieutenant colonel and a combat veteran of two wars, died Jan. 1 at his home in Silver Spring. He had congestive heart failure.

Col. Kovich joined the Marine Corps in 1942. He served in the Pacific during World War II and participated in the battles of Tarawa and Iwo Jima. During the Korean War, he participated in the Chosin Reservoir campaign.

He developed a specialty in heavy artillery and ballistics. His final active-duty assignment, in the late 1960s, was at Quantico Marine Base.

After military service, Col. Kovich spent about 15 years with IBM as a systems analyst.

George Joseph Kovich Jr. was born near Minersville, Pa., to Eastern European immigrants.

After completing high school, he earned college tuition fees by working in a coal mine.

He received a bachelor’s degree from what is now Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. Years later, he was inducted into the school’s football hall of fame.

He received a master’s degree in education from Chaminade University in Honolulu during his military career.

He was a member of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Silver Spring and the American Legion. He was an honorary life member of the Knights of Columbus.

He was a past volunteer treasurer for Silver Spring Help, a social service organization.

He grew tomatoes, green peppers and squash for his friends and neighbors.

Survivors include his wife of 65 years, Elizabeth Shaeffer Kovich of Silver Spring; five daughters, Kate Bunnell of Salt Lake City, Kerry Englehart of Las Vegas, Eileen Stone of Myersville, Patricia Brown of Randallstown, Md., and Jessie MacKinnon of Silver Spring; 11 grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; and a great-great-grandson.

— Adam Bernstein

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