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Joseph H. Koonz Jr., 78|
September 28, 2013
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Joseph Hayes Koonz Jr., 78, of Washington, D.C., died peacefully on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013. He was a well-known attorney in Washington, practicing personal injury and workers' compensation law, and specializing in the representation of injured workers.
Born in Cornwall, N.Y., on Nov. 27, 1934, the eldest son of Joseph H. Koonz Sr. and Theresse C. Gunther Koonz, he grew up in North Adams and attended the former St. Joseph Grammar and High schools, graduating in 1952 from the high school, where he was a member of the debate and basketball teams and class president. He graduated with honors from Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., in 1956, and from Georgetown University Law Center in 1959.
He was a Marine Corps veteran.
Mr. Koonz was admitted to the Bar of the District of Columbia in 1960 and founded the law firm of Koonz, McKenney & Johnson in 1979. Under his leadership, the firm became one of the largest and most successful personal-injury firms in the D.C. metropolitan area. The firm is now known as Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, DePaolis & Lightfoot LLP. He earned a reputation as a persistent, dedicated, and creative advocate. Relishing the challenge, he often enthusiastically took on the cases of clients whom other lawyers refused to represent. Mr. Koonz was an intrepid tactician with a personable style, that endeared him to juries.
He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Council for Court Excellence and was a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. He was president of the District of Columbia Trial Lawyers Association and was named its Trial Lawyer of the Year in 1990. He was featured on both "The Today Show" on NBC and "Good Morning, America" on ABC in conjunction with successful trials.
He also served on the Board of Regents of Catholic University in Washington, as chairman of the Board of Trustees at Saint Anselm College, on the Board of Directors of Georgetown Preparatory School in Rockville, Md., and Stone Ridge Country Day School of Sacred Heart in Bethesda, Md. In 1982, donated the Koonz Theatre at Saint Anselm College, which has been used for significant events including the presidential debates that are held prior to the New Hampshire primary. Mr. Koonz was honored for his philanthropic endeavors on behalf of the Archdiocese of Washington, "So Others Might Eat," Providence Hospital and Friendship House. He was a significant fundraiser for a variety of charitable organizations in the Washington area and a Knight of Malta, Federal Association.
He was an avid sports fan and devoted himself to the youth of D.C. as a mentor and coach for the Jelleff Boys and Girls Club for many years. He took his team, Team Incredible, on to win several championships.
He leaves his loving wife, Barbara Munday; a daughter, Mary Koonz Landriau; two sons, Joseph Koonz III and John Koonz; two stepchildren, Oliver Munday and Clare Munday; three sisters, Annette C. Leveque and her husband, Richard, of North Adams, T. Joan Gazzaniga and her husband, James, of Williamstown and Virginia M. Koonz of West Springfield; a brother, the Rev. John Koonz of West Springfield; three grandchildren, Megan, James and Sarah Landriau, and nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his sister Mary Ellen Koonz.
FUNERAL NOTICE — A Memorial Mass for Mr. Koonz will be concelebrated at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 16, at St. Elizabeth Of Hungary Church in North Adams.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent or made online to Cleveland Park Village, an organization dedicated to helping seniors age gracefully and independently in their community, at www.clevelandparkvillage.org or P.O. Box 11231, Washington, D.C. 20008, 202-615-5853; or to the musical theater program of John Eaton Elementary School, where Joe and Barbara were committed to enriching the lives of children through arts education. Direct donations to the musical theater program at John Eaton Home and School Association, 3301 Lowell St NW Washington, DC 20008.
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