Award-winning producer Jay LaMonica dies

John Christopher "Jay" LaMonica, an award-winning producer for ABC News and the Discovery Channel who traveled to nearly every corner of the globe during his distinguished career, died March 13 of cancer at the age of 60.

LaMonica, a member of St. John the Beloved Church in McLean, was involved in several charitable organizations, including the St. Peter Claver Society, the Knights of Columbus, HOPE in Northern Virginia and the Zambia Orphans of AIDS.

A native of Rye, N.Y., LaMonica was born July 23, 1955. He attended Georgetown University in Washington where he became associated with the Center for Strategic and International Studies and served as an adjunct fellow. He began working as a producer and national security consultant for ABC News and received a Benton Fellowship in broadcast journalism at the University of Chicago in 1987.

He worked closely with Ted Koppel at ABC News Nightline before moving to the Discovery Channel in 2006, where they continued to produce documentaries on diverse subjects, including the threat from Iran, the emergence of China and the history of race relations in America. Most recently he was executive producer at "America Tonight," Al Jazeera America's flagship news magazine.

"Jay touched everyone he met," wrote AJAM President Kate O'Brian in an email to staff on Monday. "He was a good friend, a mentor to his colleagues and a role model for young journalists.

"He was an inspiration for everyone who knew him," she added. "But perhaps what we will remember most vividly about Jay was the joy and love he had for his family and his friends."

The awards LaMonica won during his career included several national Emmys for investigative reporting, several Dupont-Columbia and Peabody awards, the Global Health Council Excellence in Media Award and the Overseas Press Club Edward R. Murrow Award.

A funeral Mass was celebrated March 17 by Father Christopher Pollard at St. John the Beloved Church. Father James R. Gould, former pastor at St. John's, concelebrated the liturgy.

Survivors include his wife, Teresa; his daughters Anna and Laura; his sons Robert and Gabriel; and four grandchildren Carolynne, John, Theodore and Eloise.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the St. Peter Claver Society (saintpeterclaversociety.com) and HOPE in Northern Virginia (hopeinnova.org).

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016