Cover photo for William Emil Kotwas's Obituary
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William Emil Kotwas

December 6, 1933 — May 7, 2024

William Emil Kotwas

William Emil Kotwas of Baltimore, Maryland passed away on May 7, 2024, at his home with his wife, Mary Jo Kotwas by his side.  Bill was born in 1933 in Auburn, New York to Dr. William A. Kotwas and Emily (Pszczolkowski) Kotwas. He graduated from Auburn East High School (Class of 1950) and attended Colgate University on a football scholarship.  After a year and a half at Colgate, Bill joined the Army in Syracuse, New York.  In September 1952, he completed his Cryptanalytic Specialist training at Fort Devens, Massachusetts.  In December of that same year, at the young age of 19, the Secretary of the Army presented Bill with a Commendation Ribbon for Meritorious Service.  Bills analysis resulted in a discovery of national significance. The award cites: “Army Cpl. Kotwas reflected the use of commendable ingenuity, conspicuous intelligence and exceptional memory to earn this award. The effect of his devotion to duty is even more commendable.”

 

Bills dedication continued to define his patriotism throughout his NSA career.

 

Bills career at the National Security Agency spanned 43 years of service from 1955 - 1998. Even with demands at work and raising his beloved young family of four, Bill completed his undergraduate degree at night. He received his Bachelor of Electrical Engineering at the George Washington University in 1963, and a Masters of Science in Electrical Engineering in 1968.

 

In 1970, Bill served as an Advisor to the Turkish Cryptologic Organization and as a member of their Ambassador Staff. He continued to broaden his NSA experience by serving as a Senior Executive in the DDO Directorate and later as Senior Executive on the A-Group Staff.  

 

In 1989, Bill was promoted to the Director of Plans, Programs, and Budget serving three different NSA Directors from 1989 to 1998.  During his tenure, he became the longest serving CFO in NSAs history.

 

Among his Civilian Service Awards, Bill received two Presidential Rank Awards in 1990 and 1996 for his Meritorious Executive Senior Cryptologic Service. In 1992, he received the NSAs highest Civilian Award for extraordinary performance and exceptional accomplishment through his professional capabilities to inspire leadership and dedication, an award Bill cherished the most.

 

Bill was preceded in death by sister: Gwendolyn M Nicosia; brother: Kenneth J. Kotwas; and sister-in-law: Judy (Aronek) Kotwas. He is survived by his brother Dr. James Richard Kotwas, Sister-in-law, Kay Kotwas; brother-in law: Vincent L. Nicosia, and four beloved children: Michael W. Kotwas (Judi Kotwas); William E. Kotwas (Frank Romano); Margaret A. (Peggy) Connelly (Andy Connelly); Anne E Violette and two grandchildren: Nicholas Violette; Kate Violette Mayer; and a Great Grandson, Steven Violette. Bill also celebrates his cousin Dr. John Zdrojewski (Donna) and nieces: Kristin Kotwas, Dr. Ellen Kotwas-Song (Mark); Susan Kotwas-Symons (Phil); Jeri Tarini (Mark); Gwen Porteous (Bryan).  Bill always cherished family time, especially celebrating Gwennie and Bryan with yearly family-reunion events.

 

Bill married Mary Jo [Slusher] Kotwas, in January of 2000. Their family was blessed by Mary Jos son, Brian P. Conrad, and daughter, Aimee C. Lynch (Dr. Sean Lynch); a beloved sister, Marsha S. Rice (Randy), and additional grandchildren: Ethan, Ellie, Kate, and Benji Lynch.  

 

Bill and Mary Jo enjoyed spending summers in Saratoga Springs, New York celebrating yearly family reunions, cheering on the Orioles and Ravens as well as traveling to Arizona to explore the National Parks and adventuring to Monument Valley, Utah.  They spent many holidays visiting family in Augusta, Georgia and in 2022 moved from Ellicott City, Maryland to their new home in Augusta.

 

Special thanks to the Georgia Hospice Care team: Dr. Samuel Chang, Tracy Murray,  Sequioa Hatcher, Rev. Jack Foley and to Golden Circles Care: Neva Harrison and Anne Baldine.  Additional tributes to Brian Conrad, Bills personal aide and Dr. James P. Walton at Southern Family Medical Center for his continued support throughout Bills illness.

 

A funeral Mass will be celebrated on Tuesday, May 14, 2024, at St. Mary on the Hill Catholic Church at 2:00 P.M. with Father Soloman Kaanan as celebrant. Interment will follow in Westover Memorial Park.

 

In lieu of flowers, please consider memorial donations to: Alzheimer Association, The Wounded Warrior Project, and St. Mary on the Hill Catholic Church in Augusta, Georgia.

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Past Services

Funeral Mass

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

2:00 - 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

St. Mary on the Hill Catholic Church

1420 Monte Sano Avenue, Augusta, GA 30904

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Interment

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

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