Levio “Lee” Edward Zeni 27 January 1923 – 13 May 2014 ...
Levio “Lee” Edward Zeni
27 January 1923 – 13 May 2014
Retired Navy Captain Lee Zeni, age 91 of Annapolis, Maryland, beloved husband of Demitroula “Toula” Zeni, passed away on 13 May 2014. Born in New York City on 27 January 1923, he spent his early years in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey and moved to Storrs, Connecticut in 1930, graduating from Willimante High School, Willimante Connecticut in 1941.
Pock, as his grandchildren lovingly knew him, was a strong but gentle man who loved life. He was tenacious while remaining a true gentleman who fervently loved his family and friends. He was passionate about golfing, achieving a Hole-in-One on the Naval Academy Golf Course in 2009. He was enthusiastic about music and dancing and ardent about justice in all aspects of life. An avid reader, speaker, and writer, Lee had the unique skill of creating full and accurate expression through the exact use of a well-turned phrase.
Lee entered the United States Naval Academy with the Class of 1946 and graduated on an accelerated war-driven schedule in 1945. He served on active duty in the United States Navy with distinction for 24 years, from 1945 to 1969, spending a career primarily at sea, with tours of duty on the USS Pensacola (CA 24) and the VF 33 Fighter Squadron as a F6 Hellcat pilot. Lee served as Commanding Officer of the USS Courtney (DE 1021), Commanding Officer of the USS Goodrich (DD 831), and Executive Officer/Acting Commanding Officer of the USS Northampton (CC 1 - the Presidential Escort Ship). His shore duty tours included flight training in Corpus Christi, Pensacola, and Jacksonville; the Naval Intelligence School; the Destroyers Atlantic Fleet; Strategic Studies at MIT; the U.S. Naval War College, the Strategic Warfare Division in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations; and, an overseas tour with Naval Intelligence in Frankfurt, Germany.
Notable achievements in his Naval career included: researching and authoring a chapter on damage estimates in the Navy’s first Radiological Safety Manual; serving as translator and interpreter in German and Italian supporting the war efforts; earning a Masters of Arts in Law and Diplomacy (MALD) from the Tufts Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy; and, researching and authoring the Navy’s Long Range Ocean Science Program.
Upon retirement from the Navy in l969, Captain Zeni began his civilian careers spanning 34 years. He served at the Office of Naval Research; at the Maryland Department of National Resources (DNR); as Executive Director of the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin; at the Maryland Energy Administration; and, at the Maryland Environmental Service.
Lee was proud of his contributions to the preservation of Maryland’s water resources and his efforts on behalf of Maryland’s watermen. Lee authored Maryland’s Power Plant Siting Law to monitor power plant emissions. He was instrumental in initiating and promoting the concept that Living Resources are the true measure of the health of the Chesapeake Bay and in restricting the Striped Bass harvest to provide time for its recovery. He initiated and obtained federal support for the restoration of the North Branch of the Potomac River and the Anacostia River. Lee identified the site for Baltimore Harbor’s dredge materials, thereby initiating the plan to restore Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay Poplar Island to its 1847 footprint as the dredge material disposal site and aiding in Baltimore’s economic development.
Lee is survived by his loving wife Demitroula “Toula” Zeni, together for 30 years; his daughter Constance Loucks and her husband, Royden, of Frostburg, MD; his daughter-in-law Nancy Zeni of Annapolis, MD; four grandchildren: Peter Lyons and wife Megan of Hagerstown, MD; Michael Lyons and wife Beth of Alexandria, VA; Cara Herring and husband Benjamin of Honolulu, HI; Heather Macey and husband T.C. of Phoenix, AZ; great grandchildren Alexis Lyons, Katherine Herring, and Carter and Benjamin Macey; nephews, Joe Zeni of White Fish Bay WI, David Zeni of Harwick MA, Frank Zeni of Annapolis MD, Tommy Wojick of Providence RI, Bob Buck of Hartford CT, and their spouses; nieces Christine Dorcich of Redwood City CA, Judy Buck, Barbara Buck, and Kelly Bonser all of Seminole FL, and their spouses; and, several grand nieces and nephews.
Lee was preceded in death by his son, Peter Ernest Zeni; his two sisters, Anne Buck and Adele Wojick; his brother, Frank Zeni; and, his first wife, Geraldine Zeni.
Visitation will be at the Taylor Funeral Home, 147 Duke of Gloucester Street, Annapolis, MD on 19 May 3-6 pm. The funeral will be at the USNA Chapel on 29 May 2014 at 1 pm with interment at the USNA Columbarium. Guests without DOD auto decals should use USNA Gate 8.
We will miss this gentle lion; this very special man.