John T. Moakley, a ranking officer with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who also carried a law degree, died August 9 at his home in West Falmouth after a four-year battle with glioblastoma. He was 65.
The son of Thomas and Doris Moakley of South Boston, he decided at an early age that he wanted to be an oceanic explorer, and did just that. Shortly after graduating from Northeastern University in 1976 with a degree in mechanical engineering, Mr. Moakley joined the NOAA Corps. He was already a certified SCUBA diver, and during his 28 years as an active duty NOAA Corps officer his various assignments took him from the sea to Washington, DC. His last sea tour was as commanding officer of the 187-foot research vessel Albatross IV.
Captain Moakley also held a US Coast Guard license of Master of Steam and Motor Vessels of Any Gross Tonnage upon Oceans.
He attended Suffolk University, receiving an MBA in 1981. After graduating at the top of his class and earning his law degree from Howard University in 1989, he worked in the Office of NOAA General Counsel developing regulations to implement the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 and also authored Chapter 7 of the NOAA Corps Regulations. In 2016, he was named associate director of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole.
Active in the Falmouth community, he served as president of the Woods Hole Golf Club, chairman of the Falmouth Chamber of Commerce, and as a coach for the Falmouth Youth Hockey League.
He leaves his wife of 32 years, Elizabeth L. (Kenney) Moakley; three sons, John T. Moakley, Daniel F. Moakley, and Thomas W. Moakley; four siblings, Thomas Moakley of Weymouth, Patty Hamel of Scituate, Donna Devin, also of Scituate, and Janet Moakley of Wakefield; and other family.
A memorial Mass was celebrated Wednesday, August 14, at St. Joseph Chapel in Woods Hole.
Burial at Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne was to be private.