Thomas Lawrence Horvatic

CDR, USN (Ret.)

1928 - 2011

Virginia Beach, VA

Retired U.S. Navy Commander, Thomas (Tom) L. Horvatic, 82, passed away peacefully Sunday, February 20th after a prolonged illness. Born in Lyndora, Pennsylvania in 1928, he was predeceased by his parents, Josephine Slugen Furka Horvatic & Thomas R. Horvatic; his beloved son, Tommy; his brother, George Furka and sister, Josephine Horvatic Schnitski and son-in-law Chris A. Christie.

He is survived by his loving wife, girlfriend and childhood sweetheart of almost 75 years, Rita Jane Paganelli Horvatic; his three daughters: Anne Christie, Maryellen Shevock (Mike) and Nancy Horvatic (Whitney). He also leaves behind three very special grandchildren: Chad Bruce (Melissa); Tommy Christie and Elena Shevock; two great-grandchildren: Iszak and Emelyn; brothers: John Furka and Joe Furka (Margie); sister-in-law, Helen Furka; sister-in-law Mary Moniot (Jim) and brother-in-law John Paganelli (Rosemarie), many nieces and nephews as well as a very special family friend, Rick Brown and his wife Carolyn and their children Elizabeth, Nicholas and Grace.

Tom was stationed in Virginia Beach in 1967 where he and Rita made their home. He was a member of the Catholic Parish at the Naval Amphibious Base and St. Gregory the Great Church in Virginia Beach.

He entered the Navy as a Seaman Apprentice in 1950 and was a proud "Mustang" retiring after 30 years as a full commander. His career assignments included billets on the U.S.S. Sphinx (ARL-24); U.S.S. Skagit (AKA-105); U.S. Salvage School in Bayonne, New Jersey; U.S.S. Mataco (ATF-86); Naval Shipyard, Pearl Harbor and Naval Amphibious School and BeachMaster Unit 1 in Coronado, California. It was during this time he was advanced to Petty Officer First Class and in 1961 was commissioned an Ensign. Upon graduation from Officer Candidate School, he served in the following assignments: U.S.S. Mahopac (ATA-196); Naval Officer Candidate School instructor; U.S.S. Diamondhead (AE-19); Naval Safety Center, Norfolk; U.S.S. Rigel (AF-58); U.S.S. Concord (AFS-5) and in 1977 returned to the Naval Safety Center where he retired in 1983 and then continued in civil service until 1990.

In recognition of this service and devotion to his country he was awarded the following decorations: Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal w/ Gold Star, Good Conduct Medal w/two stars, Navy Occupation Medal: Asia, United Nations Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal w/two stars, Korean Service Medal w/one star, Republic of Korea Defense Service Medal, Navy Expeditionary Medal (Vietnam), Vietnam Service Medal w/ 2 stars, Vietnam Presidential Citation, Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation Civil Actions First Class Color w/Palm.

Tom was an avid swimmer and volunteered with the San Diego Red Cross Water Safety "Blind Learn to Swim Program". He spent countless hours supporting the Virginia Beach Swim League and officiating at the Pembroke Marlin Swim meets. But his most favorite activity was swimming on the parents relay team and "whupping the youngsters".

When Tom retired in 1990, he and Rita devoted the next 10 years recycling aluminum and doing volunteer service to raise funds for the "Tommy Horvatic Memorial Fund at Princess Anne High School", a self-perpetuating scholarship awarded annually to a deserving student. Tom specifically stated that he wanted to express his deepest appreciation to the many, many friends and organizations that helped to keep Tommy Horvatic's memory alive.

Rita and her daughters would like to thank the staff of the Memory Center and Odyssey Hospice for their exceptional care and support over the last 5 months.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the "Tommy Horvatic Memorial Fund" c/o Princess Anne High School, 4400 Virginia Beach Blvd., Virginia Beach 23462. A funeral mass will be held at St. Gregory the Great Church, Saturday, February 26th at 11:00 a.m. followed by a reception in the church social hall. Condolences may be offered to the family at Hollomon-Brown Funeral Home