Cushing — Commander Peter Karonis, U. S. Navy (Retired), 89, a long-time resident of Cushing, passed away Jan. 2, 2013 in Boca Raton, Fla., after a short illness.
Peter Karonis was born on Nov. 28, 1923 in Somersworth, N.H. His parents Peter and Mary Karonis, moved to the United States from Greece in the early 1900s. Peter grew up in Chelsea, Mass., the youngest of four children, and attended Chelsea High School, graduating in 1942. In high school he excelled in both academics and athletics.
He was accepted as a midshipman to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in 1942. Peter later graduated first in his class and, for exceptional achievement at Massachusetts Maritime Academy, received the Irving L. Wood Memorial Award for the highest marks in seamanship and navigation. After graduation from the academy in 1943 with both his merchant marine officers license and a commission as an Ensign in the U. S. Naval Reserve, he joined the American Hawaiian Steamship Company and sailed as the second mate on the steamship S.S. Illinoian on convoys in the North Atlantic.
In late 1943 Peter transferred to the United States Navy and served as an officer in the Submarine Forces of the U. S. Pacific Fleet. This included assignments on board the submarine U.S.S. Sunfish and tender U.S.S. Sperry. At the end of World War II he decided to continue his naval career and served as an officer on board Navy ships operating around the world. This duty included combat action on board the destroyer U.S.S. O'Brien during the Korean War.
Peter commanded the destroyers U.S.S. George and U.S.S. Taussig in 1957 and 1960, respectively. He later served a tour on the Navy staff in Washington D.C., where he retired as a Commander in 1969.
Peter received numerous military awards including the Legion of Merit, the Navy Commendation Medal, and campaign medals for World War II, the Korean War, and the Cold War.
Following retirement he entered the restaurant industry, and was the owner and operator of the Shrimp Boat Restaurant in Fairfax, Va., for five years.
In 1974, Peter left the restaurant to retire in the coastal town of Cushing with his wife Dorothy and family. While in retirement he was an avid member and later post commander of the Friendship Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3095.
Peter renewed his lifelong affiliation with the seagoing profession in 1978 by going back to sea as a ship's officer in the Merchant Marine. He joined the American Transport and Trading Company and served as a second mate on various oil tankers until 1984.
In full retirement Peter remained very involved in woodworking, the Friendship Veterans of Foreign Wars post, and being a loving father, grandfather, and uncle. He loved Maine, its people, and life in Cushing.
Peter was pre-deceased by his brothers George and Theodore and sister Sylvia.
He married Clara Dorothy Jones, a school music teacher, on Aug. 27, 1950 in Lemoore, Calif. They had a loving relationship and marriage for 36 years, until her early passing at the age of 60 in 1986.
Peter is survived by his four children, Peter Joseph III (Cathy), Jeffrey Key (Tracie), Adrienne Ann, and John Anthony (Cari). He has eight grandchildren, Megan, Mary Elizabeth, Emily, Christina, Peter Joseph IV, Stephanie, Erin, and Anne.
A memorial service will be held in Thomaston in late spring 2013. The family has asked that, in lieu of flowers, any contributions be made to the Commander Friendship VFW Post 3095, c/o Eugene E. Grant Post Commander, P. O. Box 114, Friendship, ME 04547.
Peter's accomplishments reflected a lifetime of exceptional achievement, service to his country, a commitment to doing things right, and being a loving and dedicated father.