John William Engeman, brother and brother-in-law to current theater owners Patti and Kevin O’Neill, was born to Elizabeth and Joseph Engeman on July 8, 1960. He grew up with his one brother and five sisters in East Northport, New York. In August of 1978 John entered the Army as an enlisted mechanic. He was selected as a Warrant Officer (Ordnance/Maintenance) in 1988. He was promoted to Chief Warrant Officer Four on March 1, 2002. John met and married his wife, Donna, while the two were stationed in Würzburg, Germany. They have a son, Captain Patrick Engeman, a daughter and son-in-law, Nicole and Timothy McKenna.
John served our nation on active duty for over twenty-eight years. He deployed in support of Operation Desert Storm, Hurricane Andrew relief, Kosovo/Bosnia Peacekeeping, an assignment to Nigeria, and to Operation Iraqi Freedom. He served multiple tours in Germany and Korea, and at Fort Knox, Fort Drum and most recently, West Virginia. At the time of his death, John was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 312th Training Support Battalion, 4th Brigade, 78th Division, based at Fort Bragg, and was serving on the Military Transition Team assisting the Iraqi people in establishing their own security forces. The Iraqis have honored John by placing his biography and picture in the Iraqi Hall of Martyrs. The Hall of Martyrs honors all of the Iraqis who have died fighting for a free and democratic Iraq.
Among his many awards are the Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia), Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait), Bronze Star Medal, Legion of Merit Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, War on Terrorism Medal. He has been awarded the Purple Heart due to his death as a result of hostile enemy action in Iraq.
John enjoyed the theater, both on-stage and backstage. While stationed in Europe he participated in the Army’s community theater, playing the traveling salesman in “Music Man,” one of the bottle dancers in “Fiddler on the Roof” and he won an Army theater award for his role in a one-act play called “The Whole Shebang.”