John Amerspek passed away on December 25, 2013. He wrote this obituary before he passed, and it appeared in The Daily Record.
John P. Amerspek
Born in Passaic, NJ., in 1921 to Paul and Anna (Dickman) Amerspek, he lived in Garfield and Fairlawn, before moving to Succasunna in 1963. He received a B.S. Degree from Fairleigh Dickinsin University in 1951 and an M.S. Degree from Stevens Institute of Technology in 1956. He received Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Omega Epsilon scholastic honors. He was President of his graduating class, President of the Alumni Association and Alumni Representative and member of the Fairleigh Dickinson University Board of Trustees.
He was Adjunct Associate Professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University and County College of Morris for over 30 years. Mr. Amerspek retired from Picatinny Arsenal as an Industrial Engineer and Executive in 1981. He served in many leadership positions including Civilian Deputy to the Commander of the installation of over 7,000 people. He participated directly in the development and production of high priority weapon systems for all our military services. Some of these programs had the personal attention and interest of former Presidents, Eisenhower and Kennedy.
After retirement from Government Service, he established an organization of former key employees of Picatinny and supportive legislators to keep Picatinny from the Department of Defense Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) listing. Thousands of jobs and a great financial impact to the community at large were at stake along with maintaining a critical armament defense capability for our Armed Forces. The effort involved lobbying in Washington, DC., and in the industrial sector. After retiring he was a consultant for defense industries for many years.
During WWII he served in the Army and was a decorated soldier at the Mediterranean and European theatres of war. He served overseas for 3 years and participated in 5 invasions (North Africa, Sicily, Salerno, Anzio and Southern France) and received 11 battle stars. He was cited for courage at the Anzio Beach Head. He received citations from the French Government for his combat service in the liberation of France. Through the support of Congressman Ronald Frelinghuysen the 112 session of congress paid tribute to John Amerspek.
Mr. Amerspek was the first President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Picatinny Chapter, National Defense Industrial Association. He served as leader of the Chapter for over 30 years. He developed recognition award programs to recognize people in government and industry that made significant contributions in the defense of our country. He led the establishment of a scholarship program for high school seniors entering college. To date, hundreds of deserving students received scholarships involving many millions of dollars. Because of his leadership vision and performance, the Picatinny Chapter established an honorarium perpetual scholarship endowment fund in his name at the County College of Morris. He was instrumental in the creation and conduct of a wide number of International Technical Symposia to advance the education of technology for future weapon systems. He received the National Defense Industrial Association’s Gold Medal Award and the Ordnance Gold Medallion. The US Army awarded him its second highest Award, the Meritorious Civilian Service Award twice, and the Exceptional Service Award (highest civilian award). He received the Commanders Award and Outstanding Civilian Service Award (metropolitan area).
He established and was a member of the US Army Armament Research, Development Advisory Council. The Council includes senior leadership from industry and the arsenal and senior military officers. The US Army Armament, Research Development Engineering Center at Picatinny Arsenal, dedicated and named its Executive Conference room after John Amerspek, in honor of his accomplishments and support to the Army. Mr. Amerspek was a parishioner of St. Therese RC Church in Succasunna, where he served as a Eucharistic Minister and was Chairman of the Church Building and Finance committee. Mr. Amerspek was a member of the Anzio Beach Head Veterans Ass, Honorary Society of St. Barbara (patron saint of artillery), Knights of Columbus, National Defense Industrial Association, Chairman of Concerned Responsible Individuals to Support Picatinny Defense Committee, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2833 of Kenvil, American Legion Post 391 of Mine Hill, Association of US Army, Picatinny Golf Club, Alumni Association of Fairleigh Dickinsin University and Stevens Institute of Technology.