CORTLANDT, N.Y. – Elias “Al” Joseph Stetz, a retired U.S. Navy commander, of Locust Valley, N.Y., one of whose daughters lives in Cortlandt Manor, died on July 19, 2014. He was 81 years old.
Stetz enlisted in the Navy during the Korean War in 1953. As a naval aviator for 26 years, he flew reconnaissance missions out of Turkey and spent one tour in Vietnam in 1965-66 flying at least 27 combat missions along the Cambodian-Vietnam border.
Stetz received multiple awards during his time in the military, including the Navy and Marine Corps Medal in 1978, the fourth highest award for life-saving, after rescuing a drowning man in Pearl Harbor.
He obtained a bachelor of science degree from the University of Denver in 1965 and his master of science degree at George Washington University in 1971.
After retiring from the Navy in 1979, Stetz was employed by National Westminster Bank for eleven years.
Stetz is survived by his wife of 51 years, Nancy Burke Stetz, of Locust Valley, as well as his children and their spouses: Marion and Will Walsh of Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.; and Susan and Eric Trout of Richmond, Virginia.
He had six grandchildren: Dr. Katherine Mullen and her husband Dr. Dave Gorin; Anna Walsh, William Elias Walsh, Marshall Joseph Trout, Richard Walsh and Nancy Trout. He is also survived by his siblings and their spouses: Ed and Freda Stetz, Lori and Ron Tewalt and Alice Kishanuk.
Dodge Thomas Funeral Home in Glen Cove handled the arrangements.
Stetz will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery at a later date. Donations may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project here or to a charity of one's choice.