Veronica Lenox Cotariu

Veronica (Ronnie) Lenox was born in Winchester, Massachusetts, the third of seven children, to Joseph and Jane Lenox. She attended school in Medford, but after the 10th grade, Ronnie, a lively and strong-willed young woman, refused to continue high school, insisting she did not need further education. When the United States entered WWII, she went to work at General Electric, to support the war effort by filling positions vacated by young men who were now serving in the military. In 1944, inspired by her younger brother who was serving in the Navy, Ronnie defied her parents' wishes, and enlisted in the Navy. She attended Boot Camp at Hunter College in NY and Advanced Individual Training at the Naval Air Station in Marietta, Georgia.

Ronnie's primary responsibility as a WAVE was as a Link Trainer Instructor. The Link Trainer was a flight simulator used by every combatant nation during WWII and the majority of the instructors were male. Ronnie, and a small number of other WAVES, were assigned this critical mission because of a shortage of qualified men. Ronnie achieved the rank of Specialist 2nd Class and in 1950, married one of her students, Navy pilot LT Alan R. Cotariu. Per then-current Department of Defense regulations, Ronnie was required to leave active duty at the time of her marriage and separate completely in 1951 when her first child was born.

Ronnie and Alan raised Alan's daughter and their six children, always with a great emphasis on the importance of doing their best in school. As part of Alan’s military career, they lived in Morocco, Italy, and, within the United States, California, Virginia, Tennessee, and Georgia.

All of Alan and Ronnie’s children attended college; three earned advanced degrees. One daughter and two sons are military veterans, and three sons-in-law are military retirees. Ronnie herself eventually returned to school, earning an Associate Degree at Foothill College, a Bachelor of Arts Degree at San Jose State University, and a Master of Arts in Education at Santa Clara University. She taught at Resurrection School for 13 years, also serving as Vice Principal.  She retired from Resurrection in 1990.

During Ronnie’s retirement, she continued to teach in Adult Education in Santa Clara County Schools.  She also worked with her youngest son, Brian, in his packaging business for several years.  In 1997, Ronnie moved back to her hometown of Medford, Massachusetts, to enjoy the company of her sisters and brothers.  During these 11 years, she was active in the Medford Catholic Women’s Club, Red Hats, and helped tabulate the weekly collections at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.  Ronnie enjoyed traveling to visit her children and grandchildren, both within and without the United States.  She spent a memorable three weeks traveling in Ireland with her sisters, Teresa and Bunty. 

In 2009, Ronnie moved back to California, to Air Force Village West, in Riverside, California.  Ronnie loved her life there, forming strong friendships with several WWII era WAVE veterans, as well as a wide circle of military retirees. 

Ronnie passed away peacefully on January 10, 2022, three days shy of her 98th birthday. Ronnie is survived by her brothers, Joseph Lenox and Peter Lenox, and her sister Pauline Davis.  She is also survived by her daughters, Kathryn Cotariu Taverney, Cidnejean Cotariu Rector, and Kristine Cotariu Harper; her sons, Steven Scott Cotariu, Timothy Alan Cotariu, and Brian Lenox Cotariu, as well as their respective spouses.  Ronnie has 13 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, and eight great-great-grandchildren, all of whom will miss her dearly.

 

Ronnie’s children have established the Alan Robert and Veronica Lenox Cotariu Memorial Scholarship Foundation, to benefit Marine Corps and Navy active-duty personnel and veterans. To date, there have been four recipients of scholarships in pursuit of their Bachelor’s Degree.  Donations can be sent to:          

The Alan Robert and Veronica Lenox Cotariu Memorial Scholarship

c/o Army Scholarship Foundation

11700 Preston Road, Suite 660-301

Dallas, Texas 75230

Checks should be made out to “Cotariu Memorial Scholarship”