John G. Honig

October 30, 1923 ~ January 30, 2020 (age 96)


Born in Vienna, Austria, in 1923. At the age of 15, following Hitler's invasion of Austria, he fled to London alone, not sure if he would ever see his parents again. In London he lived with a Methodist minister who had taken several refugee boys into his home for safety. When his parents received permission to immigrate to the United States in 1940, he joined them in New York City, where he completed high school. His undergraduate studies at Drew University were interrupted by service in the United States Army. While in the service he became a US citizen. He returned to Drew to graduate, and then completed a master's degree at the University of Michigan and a doctorate in physical chemistry at Georgetown University. His first marriage, to Ernie Appenzeller, also a refugee from Vienna, ended in divorce. Their son Gary and daughter Judy and their spouses Peggi and Steve live in the Washington DC area. He married Elaine Souliere in 1980; they celebrated 39-years of marriage in 2019. Their son David was born in 1983, in John's 60th birthday year. Dr. Honig lived in the Washington area from 1949 until his death on January 30 of this year. He was a physical chemist with the former National Institute of Cleaning and Dyeing and with the Naval Research Laboratory as well as several defense agencies. After receiving his doctorate, he specialized in operations research and systems analysis for the U.S. Navy and the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA), where he headed efforts to evaluate systems for antisubmarine warfare. He also headed a Naval Warfare Technology Group for Minneapolis Honeywell. From 1964 to 1984 he performed management analyses for the Office of the Army Chief of Staff and other Army staff elements, focused on improving the acquisition, operational testing, and evaluation of future weapons systems. After he retired from the government in 1984, he served as a staff member and consultant to ANSER, in support of the Air Force; at Management Analysis, Inc., in support of the Army; and at IDA, in support of projects for the Office of the Secretary of Defense. As an original member and vice chairman of the Maryland Governor's Science Advisory Council, he was active in assessing the continuous loss of fresh water on the Eastern Shore, particularly in the Ocean City area, as a result of increased use of vacation facilities on one hand and intrusion of ocean water into the underground water supply on the other. In his late eighties and nineties he served on the Montgomery County Commission on Aging, where he helped develop laws to restore losses suffered by aging and disabled adults as a result of exploitation. Dr. Honig was a founder and president of the Military Operations Research Society, president of the National Council for Associations of Policy Sciences and the Washington Academy of Sciences, as well as a founder and president of the Washington Operations Research Council. He was elected a fellow of the World Academy of Science and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In the 1950s he was a founder and president of the Oxon Hill Recreation Club and a member of the Forest Heights Town Council. Dr. Honig was active twice in leadership positions for Boy Scout Troop 773 in Potomac, once in his forties and again his seventies, where each of his sons earned the rank of Eagle Scout. He participated in civic associations and officiated at sports activities in his historic Carderock Springs neighborhood in Bethesda, MD. He loved music and was active in music circles and served as a volunteer docent with the Washington National Opera for many years bringing his Viennese love of opera to local schools. His family is planning a celebration of John's life in the very near future. In lieu of flowers, they suggest that memorial contributions be made in his honor to the U.S. Holocaust Museum or to the American Cancer Society.

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