John Maroney

Obituary of John Edward Maroney

Please share a memory of John to include in a keepsake book for family and friends.

John Edward Maroney, 86, died in Durham, NC on February 8, 2024 after a long illness. 

John was born in Medford, MA on August 6, 1937 to Evelyn (Finegan) and Edward Maroney. He graduated from Tufts University in 1959 and in 1960 was married to Patricia (Pat) Maria Folsom, whom he met in 1956 through a mutual friend. Having gone through college in the ROTC, he joined the Air Force upon graduation and served during the Vietnam conflict; exposure to Agent Orange during that service would cause him serious, chronic health problems later in life. In the years immediately prior to leaving the Air Force in 1974 he was stationed at Lockbourne Air Force Base in Columbus, Ohio. 

John then worked for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), obtained a masters degree in Public Administration at Ohio University, and started work on a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences at the Ohio State University. In 1976, he and his family–Pat, Timothy, Kevin, and Terry–relocated to Chapel Hill, where John worked for Northrup Industries in their environmental protection program. John became an expert in the Clean Air Act and, after leaving Northrup, continued to perform environmental compliance audits and instruction until his retirement. John and Pat remained happily ensconced in Chapel Hill until 2019, when they downsized and moved to Croasdaile Village in Durham.

John was a polymath, deeply informed across a wide spectrum of hobbies and interests, including: languages and linguistics (he spoke Russian and Esperanto and had a familiarity with dozens of other languages, including Thai and Yiddish); science fiction and fantasy; Americana music, especially bluegrass and modern folk; Irish music; Russian literature and Japanese art; martial arts, particularly judo; political administration; philosophy, religion, modern physics, and computers; and so much more. He loved his pet cats and the birds at Croasdaile’s lake. He loved to travel, making it to Ireland, Russia, and Cuba in his retirement, and in the 1980s gained Irish citizenship through his Irish-born grandfather. John was committed to the ideals of peace and justice, and was particularly devoted to the music and antiwar activism of Joan Baez, Woody Guthrie, and Pete Seeger.

John was an active member of the science fiction fandom, Mensa, and Esperanto communities, through which he made many friends. Those who knew him for even a short time admired his evident intelligence, wide-ranging knowledge, delight in the unusual, and deep curiosity about the world.

John is survived by his wife Patricia and their two living children, Kevin (from Yonkers, NY) and Terry (from Nashville, TN), and their spouses. 

A funeral service will be held in the Few Interfaith Chapel at Croasdaile Village in Durham at 10 AM on Saturday, February 17. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations to the North Carolina branch of the ACLU; to the Fisher House Foundation, which assists with medical care for veterans and their families; the Parkinson’s Foundation; or to the Independent Animal Rescue in Durham.

Share Your Memory of