When J.C. Wiegman committed to something, he went all in.
That proved true in his devotion to family, his career in the U.S. Navy, and his second career as a mainstay at the SIU-affiliated Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education (PHC), where Wiegman worked from 1989 until his retirement in early 2015. And, as anyone who knew him could attest, it definitely applied to his longtime loyalty to the NFL’s Washington Redskins (since renamed).
Wiegman unexpectedly passed away May 5 at his home in Piney Point, Maryland, close to the PHC. He was 72.
“J.C. was always doing his very best to make sure that our membership was equipped with the proper tools to meet the ever-changing needs of our industry,” said SIU Executive Vice President Augie Tellez. “Although their name has changed, I’m sure he’s wearing his Washington Redskins jacket, arguing with the angels over their proud history. Our sympathies and condolences go out to his wife and family.”
Paul Hall Center Assistant Vice President Bart Rogers worked with Wiegman throughout his career at the school, both when Wiegman was an instructor and during his tenure as director of training.
“J.C. was a tireless advocate for our mariners,” Rogers said. “He was well-respected throughout the industry for his knowledge of maritime regulations, and he was at the forefront of U.S. implementation of STCW requirements. He was my friend and I will miss our Giants-Redskins battles.”
Born John Clarence Wiegman, J.C. served in the Navy from 1966 until 1987, most recently as a gas turbine mechanical maintenance senior chief. He earned numerous awards and decorations, including the National Defense Service Medal, Navy Achievement Medals, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Sea Service Deployment Ribbons, Good Conduct Awards and Navy Commendation Medals.
Wiegman’s connection to Piney Point began long before the school opened there in 1967. He grew up in the small town (its population today is still fewer than 1,000), and his father worked at the facility when it was a torpedo testing center.
If no mention of Wiegman away from work would be complete without including both the Redskins and his acumen as a Little League baseball coach (he coached each of his three kids), no recap of his time at the PHC would be proper without crediting his encyclopedic knowledge of the maritime industry’s myriad training requirements.
When Wiegman retired, Don Nolan, then the PHC’s vice president, described him as “instrumental in all phases of training throughout the school, both vocational and academic. His communications with the Coast Guard, the Military Sealift Command and other agencies was vital for us, and he also did a great job with our veterans program.
Rogers added that Wiegman “kept us way ahead of schedule with new requirements all of the time, long before you were required to be compliant. He kept us abreast of all the changes, going back to the training record book and most recently the (STCW) final rule.”
When he retired, Wiegman noted, “I could write a book on the changes in training that began in the 1990s. In the early 90s, oil and pollution prevention were impacting the industry. A program for tanker safety operations was put in place. This course became the industry standard before the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 came out in regulation. It was also a key event in my career because my boss, the late Bill Eglinton, tasked me with going to the Coast Guard and getting a grandfathering provision for (the) tanker assistant-dangerous liquids class. Going to the National Maritime Center, I met and learned to work with them, opening lines of communication.” Survivors include his wife of 49 years, Carole; three sons; a sister; and nine grandchildren. Memorial contributions may be made to Valley Lee Rescue Squad, P.O. Box 1, Valley Lee, MD 20692.