KEWANEE – CDR John Dennis Kolata USN (Ret.), 80, of Fernandina Beach, FL, formerly of Kewanee, died Thursday, January 27, 2022.
John was born August 4, 1941 in Kewanee. He graduated in 1955 from Visitation Catholic School and in 1959 from Kewanee High school after which he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. Shortly after his enlistment he was awarded a full Navy 4-year scholarship to the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN. Upon his graduation from Notre Dame in 1964 he was commissioned as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy.
In his 24-years in the Navy he served on four submarines; Sea Lion, Grouper, Sea Leopard and Wahoo. He was promoted to Lieutenant Commander and served as the Navigator on the Cruiser Jouett, then Executive Officer of the Destroyer Agerholm. Achieving the rank of Commander, he was assigned as the Captain of the USS Manitowoc (LST-1180) which was the highlight of his naval career. Under the orders of President Ronald Reagan John was in command of his embarked Company of the U.S. Marines. That force formed the amphibious assault into the island of Grenada putting down the Soviet backed Cuban force that had overtaken the island. After Grenada the Manitowoc streamed to the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Beirut, Lebanon and landed helos transporting evacuees from the United States Embassy. His naval service ended at Newport, RI, serving as the Station Commander. He retired from the U.S. Navy in December of 1986.
During his service in Newport, RI he attended Bryant University in Providence, RI achieving a Master’s in Public Administration. He used that education to serve as a municipal manager in Ohio, Illinois (including Kewanee) and Wisconsin.
John was eldest of two sons of Edward and Joan (Ramont) Kolata. He married Carol Currier on June 19, 1965 in Allen Park, MI. Survivors include his wife, Carol and their two sons, John (Mary) Kolata and Edward Kolata and two daughters, Christine (Hary) Bottka and Joanne (Serge) Leonidov and four grandchildren and one great grandchild.
A Memorial Mass will be celebrated at 12:00 p.m., Wednesday, May 18 at Saint John Paul II Parish in Kewanee. Celebrant will be Fr. Johndamaseni Zilimu. Inurnment will follow at Mt. Olivet Cemetery where military rites will be accorded by the Kewanee Veterans Council. Memorials may be directed to Visitation Catholic School in Kewanee. Rux Funeral Home in Kewanee is in charge of arrangements.