Rear Adm. Ronald F. Marryott, a former superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy who led and taught generations of sailors and officers during a Navy career that spanned 33 years, died Saturday of complications from leukemia at his home near Annapolis. He was 71.
Superintendent from 1986 to 1988, he was a member of the Class of 1957 and honored last year as a Naval Academy Distinguished Graduate. He was nominated for the award by the academy alumni association, of which he was a former president.
Describing Admiral Marryott as "a dedicated and selfless leader," the current superintendent, Rear Adm. Rodney P. Rempt, said in a statement, "Ron served the Naval Academy, our Alumni and our Navy with great honor, courage and commitment. His significant and enduring contributions helped develop thousands of young men and women into leaders of character who are serving our Navy and Marine Corps."
Born in Eddystone, Pa., and raised in nearby Prospect Park, Admiral Marryott served as a Navy aviator. He participated in the Cuban missile crisis blockade, served as Project Mercury recovery officer for the first three U.S. manned space flights, saw duty in Vietnam and flew many Cold War missions.
He served seven tours at the Pentagon and was president of the Naval War College from 1985 to 1986.
Years before becoming the academy's 52nd superintendent, he served on its faculty in the mid-1960s, teaching courses in naval history and the history of U.S. foreign policy, American government and politics, and international relations.
He retired from active duty in 1990 and served as president and chief executive officer of the George C. Marshall Foundation before returning to Annapolis as president and CEO of the academy's alumni association. He retired from the association in 2000, but remained active and served as co-chairman of the Class of '57 fund-raising efforts.
In a statement yesterday, the alumni association hailed Admiral Marryott for initiating its Distinguished Graduate Award program. "To many in our Extended Brigade, Admiral Marryott was a mentor and a friend," the association said.
Annapolis Mayor Ellen O. Moyer noted the retired admiral's efforts on behalf of the city, recalling yesterday, "He was the first person who helped us after 9/11, and he was right there for us. He chaired the emergency management committee for the city and set up a framework for how the city should organize its operations.
"He was very dedicated, always such a positive, pleasant person, besides knowing all the details of a very challenging job."
Services will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday at the Naval Academy Chapel, followed by burial with full military honors in the academy cemetery.
Surviving are his wife of nearly 48 years, the former Carol Ann Westendorf; three sons, Ronald Marryott Jr. of Santa Monica, Calif., Robert A. Marryott of Hartford, Conn., and Thomas W. Marryott of Annapolis; and a brother, Thomas D. Marryott of Port Charlotte, Fla.