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1939 Lawrence 2024

Lawrence McGovern

September 5, 1939 — March 19, 2024


Lawrence E. McGovern Obituary

Lawrence (Larry) E. McGovern (84) passed away peacefully on March 19, 2024, in Belleville, Illinois. He is survived by his loving wife of 33 years, Donna McGovern, his three children: Sean McGovern (Stefan Freed), Holly Loyer (Frank Loyer), and Mikelle Rappaport (William Messerschmidt); his step-daughter, Dana Banks (Kevin Banks); his grandchildren: Zach Rappaport, Taran McGovern-Freed and Leah Loyer (predeceased); his step-grandchildren: Carson and Abigail; his brother, Michael McGovern (Joyce) and nieces, Tara McGovern and Meghan McGovern, and nephew, Ryan McGovern.

Larry was born in 1939 in Oakland, California, son of the late Terrence E. McGovern and Gertrude L. McGovern (Simmons). He attended St. Joseph's High School, then San Mateo Junior College. In 1956, Larry entered the military at the age of 17 where his discovered his love of flying, which led him to his career as a Naval Aviator.

Throughout his military career, Larry served on several U.S. Naval Fleet ships in the Atlantic & Pacific theaters. These included: the USS Salem, the USS Preston, the USS Benington, the USS America, the USS Enterprise, and the USS Nimitz.

As a Naval Aviator, he served his country with distinction, including flying multiple combat missions during the Vietnam War, serving as an F-4 pilot aboard the USS America. Throughout his career, he had the distinction of flying several of the Navy's most iconic aircraft, including the F-4 Phantom, the A-4 Skyhawk, the A-6 Intruder, and C-1 Trader. His call name was "Steam".

In 1981, Larry retired from the US Navy at the rank of Lieutenant Commander after 25 years of service.

Although Larry began his military service immediately after graduating from high school, he was a true lifelong learner who eventually earned four academic degrees. In 1961, he graduated from the California Maritime Academy in Vallejo, CA, with a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Marine Engineering. In 1962, he was stationed at Treasure Island, where, as a young Lieutenant, he studied nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare. In 1974, he earned his Master of Science (MS) in Chemical and Physical Oceanography from US Navy Post Graduate School. In 1986, he earned his Doctor of Science (PHD) in Physical Oceanography from Pacific Western University. Finally, in 2007, at the age of 66, he earned his Master of Science (MS) in Software Engineering at University of Maryland University College.

After his retirement from the Navy, Larry continued to serve his country, working at the Pentagon as a civilian employee under Vice Admiral James Stockdale. For the next 40 years, he thrived in the Defense Information Technology industry in and around Washington DC, where he performed program management, enterprise architecture, electronic warfare, information assurance, and configuration management functions in the development of U.S. Defense weaponry. Two of his notable projects included Battleship Cruise Missiles in the 1980s and work on a version of U.S. Presidential Helicopter, Marine One, in the 2010s. Working in these roles, he held titles of Vice President, Executive Director, and Program Manager for several different companies.

Of all his civilian defense functions, Larry's greatest passion was for enterprise architecture. His final project involved directing aspects of the system architecture for the Boeing MQ-25 Stingray, the US Navy's first Carrier-Based Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, a flight system designed for in-flight refueling of the F/A-18 Super Hornet, the F-35 Lightening II, and the V-22 Osprey.

Larry was a diehard Washington Redskins football fan and loved to listen to Frank Sinatra, Billy Joel and the Beach Boys. He loved sailing and earned an International Captains License. He was a proud member of the Civil Air Patrol and served as a squadron leader for the Maryland Wing, St. Mary's Squadron #MD-089.

A graveside funeral service will be held at Mound City National Cemetery on March 25, 2024 at 1pm.. Military honors will be presented by the US Navy. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that a donation be made to the Civil Air Patrol in his honor.

Checks can also be mailed to:

Civil Air Patrol-Development

P.O. Box 9251

Montgomery, AL 36108

Memo ref: IMO Lt Col Lawrence McGovern

Meredith Funeral Home in Carbondale assisted the family with arrangements. Please share memories and condolences with the family at

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Graveside Service

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

1:00 - 1:30 pm (Central time)

Mound City National Cemetery

141 Illinois 37, Mound City, IL 62963

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