• ocean city
  • Cape May
  • March 17, 1947
  • October 23, 1967
  • Navy
  • RANK:
  • BUR3
  • KIA
  • South Vietnam


Jon R. Morvay was born on March 17, 1947. His home of record is Ocean City, NJ. He was the only child of June and Robert Morvay. He graduated from Ocean City High School in 1965, was a member of the Corvette club and enjoyed boating and water skiing. He continued his education at Valley Forge Military Academy at Temple University Alliance College in Pennsylvania.

Morvay served in the US Navy and attained the rank of Builder (Concrete) Third Class (BUR3). He was a Navy Seabee.

Morvay was killed in action on October 23, 1967. He is buried in Harleigh Cemetery in Camden, NJ.

Morvay earned numerous awards and medals. Some of these include the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, two Bronze Star Medals, the Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon, the Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Service Medal, the Gallantry Cross Medal, and the Vietnam Campaign Medal.

I'm a kid of 17. I went to the local school and worked at the catalog store of Sears Roebuck and Company. I figured I'd never go to college with our money situation and all so I gave my studies my best shot still remaining an average student with an above average imagination.

It was in my senior year a new kid came in mid-session; he sat next to me in History class and always asked to borrow my notes. I used to type them because somehow I thought it would help me learn. As soon as the new kid and I looked at each other, we knew we were meant to be together, we didn't know how or why, but we knew. Oh, his name was Jon.

One afternoon Jon said to me, "I'll make you lunch if you clean up the mess, my parents aren't home they are away for the weekend." I thought ok and jumped at the chance to share my lunch hour with him. We got out of school and went to his car, Oh God I thought, a '65 silver blue Corvette Stingray. It was just as gorgeous as he was, had I died and went to heaven? Was this for real?

Jon was tall, part Cherokee and French I think, walnut brown hair and dark eyes with that beautiful nose! He dressed impeccably with penny loafers and socks that matched a dickey he wore under his sweater. What a find!

At lunch we talked about who knows what, his house was beautiful and on the lagoon. The first level was his quarters and a den. He had a boat and could ski quite well even on one ski. Gosh I thought, I've lived here by the ocean all my life and I can't even swim! I think we had tuna sandwiches but I can't swear to that, we had Coke to drink though. I remember I was thrilled to have shared this magical hour with him. I dutifully washed the dishes and we headed back to school.

Time passed. I was on the yearbook committee typing the information that would accompany the school photos. When I got to Jon's, I discovered his photo was unavailable. I was disappointed but I guess he came into the semester too late to have a photo taken. His nickname was BOAT.

The famous Friday nights came each week, we used to double date and realized how much we enjoyed ourselves, and each other's company. Gee, I guess we were falling in love. Jon had lots of friends, especially those he had for a while from Haddonfield where we were from, along with friends from neighboring towns. We took boat rides on the lagoon and had Saturday afternoons with his, and now, our friends. It was great! His friends were more affluent than I, but I tried to boost my self-esteem and fit in.

In the summer, I got a job at a luncheonette and at the end of the summer, Jon asked me to wear his pin. He had attended Valley Forge Military Academy. I told him I would be proud to. The owners of the luncheonette threw a party for employees and their friends. Jon and I danced all night staring into each other's eyes. I saw something deep in those dark brown eyes that one sometimes in a lifetime never even gets the honor of experiencing. Something so very familiar to me, I suppose I was recognizing myself mirrored deep in his eyes. Soon, Jon and I were engaged to be married. He said if I didn't like the ring or if the diamond wasn't big enough, he would sell his mag wheels, these were the Micky Thompson mag wheels on his Vette. I really knew he loved me then. The ring was perfect.

There was something so profound about us. I didn't know what it was then, but now I know it was a melding of souls, recognition of our deepest Beings, our deepest truest selves. We knew each other like we were soulmates or something. We just knew each other on a level that needed no words to communicate. I had found my one and only, my hero, my special partner. We probably wanted to have sex then but in those days with our morals and all, it wasn't what we did. Besides, his mom said no hanky panky! But I feel that we had a bond that went deeper and had more meaning for us. We were truly one and we knew it.

So after the boat rides, working and beach parties, the summer ended and Jon spoke of joining the Navy. He had gone to college and thought he wanted a dental career. We agreed to wait sexually for marriage so he could be settled in a good paying job.

Come October 1967. I found myself at Harleigh Cemetery in Camden, New Jersey. A skinny 18-year-old girl with her white-gloved hand on the casket of the precious boy who had changed her life. The one who gave her hope and joy. No more tuna sandwiches, no more Vette rides, no more eye-to-eye communication. Jon had died in the line of duty in Phu Bai, Vietnam. I was told that Jon always volunteered for the most dangerous of missions. His precious body was ripped apart by a land mine.

Written by Angelina J. Canizzaro, Fiancée

The following letter was sent by Commander B.E. Stultz to Morvay's parents in October 1967.

As your son's Commanding Officer, I wish to express the heartfelt condolences of the Officers and Men of the U.S. Naval Mobile Construction Battalion One Hundred and Twenty One in this time of sorrow.

This was a most tragic loss and there is little I can say that will make it any less so. Please permit me though to intrude upon your time of grief to tell you some of the details about the way in which Jon lost his life.

Your son was a member of a small party of men in search of a new rock quarry site in the foot hills, about 2-1/2 miles southwest of the Phu Bai Combat Base. Near the noon hour on the 23rd of October as they were returning to the base, the lead jeep in which Jon was riding struck an enemy mine. A medical evacuation helicopter was rushed to the scene. Unfortunately, Jon lived only a few minutes after the explosion. He died without suffering. I am sure that in that fleeting instant before his death his thoughts were of you.

As Commanding Officer, I am deeply moved when one of my fine young men loses his life, especially Jon. His Company Commander, Lt. Rhodes, and Company Chief, Builder Chief Dibble, also lost their lives. Nothing I can say will lessen your burden of grief, but I want you to know that Jon died serving his country proudly. His initiative and ability were exemplary. He never hesitated regardless of the dangers when there was a need for volunteers.

I know that you have suffered a deep personal tragedy, but if I can provide you any additional information or be of any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact me.

Again, my most heartfelt sympathy is extended to you.

Sources: Joyce Canizzaro (fiancée) and NJVVMF.


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