Campus Life

Captain Of Texas A&M-Galveston Training Ship Dies At Age 60

February 2, 2017

Captain Joseph J.W. Klenczar (on the left)
Captain Joseph J.W. Klenczar (on the left)

Texas A&M University at Galveston announces the passing of Captain Joseph J.W. Klenczar.  Capt. Klenczar was the Master of the Texas A&M Maritime Academy training ship General Rudder. He died as a result of complications from surgery on Monday evening, Jan. 30 at the age of 60.

Capt. Klenczar was a 1979 graduate of Texas A&M at Galveston with a degree in Marine Sciences.  He joined the International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots immediately after graduation and sailed in all deck licensed positions including several years as master of container and RORO (roll-on/roll-off) vessels. He served as master of vessels on voyages to the Persian Gulf in support of U.S. Armed Forces during Operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom.  He returned to the Texas A&M University Maritime Academy in 2013 as chief mate and then master of the General Rudder.

“Joe was my dear friend and I will miss him,” said Capt. Scott Putty, associate professor of the Practice of Marine Transportation at Texas A&M Galveston.  “Joe was a kind soul with an incredible work ethic and attention to detail.  He was an excellent role model for the cadets.”

“Scores of cadets will remember and benefit from the leadership of Capt. Klenczar,” said Doug Palmer, interim chief operations officer at Texas A&M Galveston. “His knowledge and mastery of maritime skills have been passed on to our cadets.  In that, Joe will live on in the cadets he trained and led so well.”

Services are pending at this time.

Texas A&M University at Galveston is a special-purpose campus of Texas A&M University offering undergraduate and graduate programs under the name and authority of Texas A&M University. With a distinct identity in marine themes, Texas A&M Galveston is intimately connected to the land grant mission of Texas A&M University and, as such, its academic programs and research initiatives are linked to finding basic and applied solutions in maritime affairs, science and technology, and ocean studies. The institution is under the management and control of the Board of Regents of The Texas A&M University System. For more information, visit


Media Contact: Bob Wright, Marketing and Communications, Texas A&M University at Galveston. Office: 409-740-4840, Cell: 713-586-9870 Email:

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