He enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve in March 1966 and in May 1967, began 11 years of active duty, which included serving aboard the USS Decatur (DDG-31), USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19), and USS Halsey (CG-23) as a Missile Fire Control Technician. While in the Navy, he attended the University of New Mexico from Aug 1969 to July 1972, majoring in electrical engineering. In Sep 1979 he received a permanent appointment to Chief Petty Officer, USNR.
After leaving the active duty Navy, Johann was employed directly, or as a contract electrical engineer, in various positions at GTE Sylvania, TRW/Electromagnetic Systems Laboratory, Perkin-Elmer Optoelectronics, NGC/Remotec, EADS/Fairchild Controls, BAE/Flight Systems, and Orbital Sciences.
His sister Kristina M. McClelland of Pittsburgh, PA and his father Albert G. Opitz of Springfield, MA predeceased Johann. He is survived by his mother Shirley E. (Marsh) Opitz, also of Springfield, MA and daughter Caroline M. Price, adopted son Charles L. Opitz, grandson Aaron V. Price, niece Shalan R. McClelland, and a number of cousins.
Johann was a life member of the American Legion Post 74, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10846, Naval Enlisted Reserve Assoc., Navy League of the United States, U.S. Naval Institute, Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Assoc., Assoc. of Old Crows, National Defense Industrial Assoc., National Rifle Assoc., NRA Whittington Center, Arizona State Rifle & Pistol Assoc., California Rifle & Pistol Assoc., Nevada State Rifle & Pistol Assoc., New Mexico Shooting Sports Assoc., Pennsylvania Rifle & Pistol Assoc., Utah State Rifle & Pistol Assoc., Bishop Museum & Historical Society, Bodie Foundation, Death Valley Natural History Assoc., Friends of Rhyolite, Great Basin Natural History Assoc., American Mensa, Parsons Family Assoc., and Air Force Association.
Johann was loved and appreciated by many and will be greatly missed by his family and friends and the organizations he loved and dedicated so much time to.
There will be no memorial services or interment as Johann elected to have his cremated remains buried at sea by the U.S. Navy. At a future date, a celebration of Johann’s service to his country will be held at the Cedar City Veterans Memorial Park and a Veterans Administration plaque will be placed in a cemetery of his estate’s executor choosing. Arrangements are being handled by Southern Utah Mortuary. Online condolences can be made at www.sumortuary.com.
Contributions in memory of Johann Opitz may be made to the: a) Mensa Education and Research Foundation, 1229 Corporate Drive West, Arlington, TX 76006 (817) 607-5577; b) Death Valley R.O.C.K.S. Education Fund, Death Valley Natural History Assoc., P.O. Box 188, Death Valley, CA 92328 (800) 478-8564; or c) Navy League Foundation’s Scholarship Program, Navy League of the United States, 2300 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 200 Arlington, VA 22201 (800) 356-5760 and would be deeply appreciated by his family.