Joanne Muldowney Reese54, retired commander, U.S. Navy

By on December 7, 2011

Joanne Muldowney Reese (commander, U.S. Navy, retired), 54, of Tamuning, Guam, died on Monday, Nov. 21, 2011 at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

Born in Trenton, N.J., and raised in Lancaster, she was the eldest daughter of John F. Muldowney of Manheim and the late Barbara Halaburda Muldowney.

Joanne attended St. Anne’s Elementary School and Lancaster Catholic High School (Class of 1975). She earned an associate’s degree in arts and social science from Wesley College, Dover, De., in 1977.

As a young girl Joanne worked for the family business, Pinch Pond Campgrounds in Manheim. Welcoming responsibility at an early age instilled a work ethic that followed her throughout her career. On Jan. 25, 1979, Joanne enlisted in the U.S. Navy. After basic training at Great Lakes, Ill., she received further training at Bethesda Naval Hospital and was then stationed in San Diego, Calif., as a hospital corpsman. In 1985, Joanne was accepted to Officer Candidate School and in September 1985 she was commissioned as an Ensign.

From 1985 to 1987 she attended the Navy Aviation School in Pensacola, Fla. From 1987 to 1989 she worked at Atlantic Command Operations Support Facility as a world wide command and control supervisor in Norfolk, Va. During this time she was selected for the Advanced Education Program and obtained her master of science degree in education administration from Old Dominion University. From 1989 to 1992 she was assigned to the Naval Education Training Program Support Activity as the Navy ROTC Scholarship selection officer. Subsequent tours included Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station, New Orleans, as the communications officer, and Naval Air Technical Training Center as the Information Resources Management Department head in Pensacola, Fla. During this assignment she was promoted to commander. In November of 1999, Joanne headed overseas as the chief of NATO Protocol/ Chief of Commander Naval Forces Europe Protocol at Allied Forces Southern Europe, Naples, Italy. In October of 2003 she volunteered for remote/hardship duty as the officer-in-charge of the National Support Element at NATO Regional Headquarters in Larissa, Greece. In 2005 she reported to the Military Entrance Processing Command, Great Lakes, where she functioned as an army inspector general in a joint environment. Her last tour took her to Guam as the regional personnel director for Naval Forces Marianas. On Sept. 30, 2009 after an impressive 30-year military career, Joanne retired with the rank of commander but continued her support of the federal government as a civil servant employed at the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Marianas as an inspector general.

Joanne was a visionary planner, an outstanding leader, mentor and consummate professional. She was a troubleshooter and a dedicated problem solver with relentless dedication to duty. She was the recipient of the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, two Joint Service Commendation Medals, two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, Navy Unit Commendation, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, eight Navy and Marine Overseas Service Ribbons, Meritorious Unit Commendation and NATO Medal.

Joanne’s military career took her all over the world and far from Lancaster but she enjoyed the thrill of traveling. Wherever she called home you would find an expression of her passion for restoring the old. She devoted many hours and hard work into home renovations and refurbishing antique furniture. Joanne loved to cook and shared that talent with her cherished friends and family. Joanne was generous with the blessings her career provided; through the years she provided funds overseas to a family she had connected with and she was quick to dig into an old trunk and come up saying, "Look what I found shopping. I want you to have it."

"Fair Winds and Following Seas" Joanne, we will miss you.

In addition to her father, Joanne is survived by two sisters: Mary, wife of Steven Dettinger, of Lancaster; and Ellen, wife of Donald Tabar, of Exton; two nieces: Laura C. Dettinger, of Alexandria, Va.; and Lily M. Tabar, of Exton; and a nephew: John S. Dettinger, of Alexandria, Va.

The family would like to express their appreciation for the kindness and compassion expressed from the Bethesda hospital staff, her co-workers and the legal office assigned to Agana, Guam.

A mass of Christian burial will be held at St. Richard’s Catholic Church, 110 N. Oak St., Manheim, PA 17545 on Dec. 10 at 11 a.m. Interment will be private for immediate family.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions to be sent in memory of Joanne to the American Cancer Society, 314 Good Drive, Lancaster, PA 17603 or the Humane League of Lancaster County, 2195 Lincoln Hwy E., Lancaster, PA 17602.

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