The Washington Post

John A. Waksmunski Sr., operating engineer, dies at 84

John A. Waksmunski Sr.
operating engineer

John A. Waksmunski Sr., an operating engineer who worked on construction projects throughout the Washington area over four decades, died Dec. 1 at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda. He was 84.

The cause was complications from a fall, said his son John A. Waksmunski Jr.

Mr. Waksmunski, an operator of heavy equipment, joined Local 77 of the International Union of Operating Engineers in 1949 and retired in the late 1980s. He worked on the construction and restoration of President John F. Kennedy’s grave site at Arlington National Cemetery and on projects at the Library of Congress, the Capitol, the White House Rose Garden, the Watergate complex and the Iwo Jima Memorial, among other sites, his son said.

John A. Waksmunski was born in Hastings, Pa. He grew up on his family’s farm and settled in the Washington area shortly after graduating from high school. In the early years of his career, he worked for the FBI as a fingerprint technician. He served in the Army during the Korean War, including as a tank mechanic.

In addition to his construction career, Mr. Waksmunski worked in real estate investment and developed numerous residential properties. He owned and managed a portfolio of rental properties and undeveloped land in Montgomery County and the surrounding area.

He was a longtime Bethesda resident and belonged to the Knights of Columbus and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Survivors include his wife of 60 years, Alice Wright Waksmunski of Bethesda; six children, John A. Waksmunski Jr. of Leesburg, Paul M. Waksmunski of Southport N.C., Linda A. Waksmunski of Salisbury, Md., Debra W. Gross of Ellicott City, Md., Matthew J. Waksmunski of Rockville and Lori W. Smith of Bryantown, Md.; two brothers; 10 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

— Emily Langer

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