Jan Dejnožka (pronounced Yon DAY-no-shka) was born in Saratoga Springs, New York to Ladislav and Helen Garrett Dejnožka. He took a B.A. with Honors in philosophy from Syracuse University in 1973, writing his honors thesis on Quine on necessary truth. Dejnožka lived the next six years in Iowa City, earning his M.A. and Ph.D. in philosophy in 1976 and 1979 at the University of Iowa. His doctoral dissertation, Frege: Existence and Identity, was supervised by Panayot Butchvarov.
From 1981 to 1993, Dejnožka served his country as a U.S. Navy officer. He served on board USS CANISTEO AO–99, USS AMERICA CV–66, and USS CORONADO AGF–11. On board the aircraft carrier AMERICA for two years, he qualified as Officer of the Deck Underway and Surface Warfare Officer, served as Boilers Division Administrative Officer and Navigation Division Officer, and earned the Navy Expeditionary Medal for service off Beirut and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon for a six month deployment to the Indian Ocean. On board the command ship CORONADO for a fifteen month complex overhaul in Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, he served as Deck Division Officer, Assistant Department Head for Deck and Weapons Divisions, Command Duty Officer in Port, and Member of the Court and President of the Court for Special Courts Martial. During a five month release from active duty, he served as Executive Officer of reserve unit NAVWEPSTA EARLE DET 1604 (Naval Weapons Station Earle) in New Jersey. He was then recalled to active duty and taught history and philosophy on a three year shore tour in the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland as Assistant Professor of Philosophy. He taught all four philosophy courses offered there, wrote several philosophy papers that were accepted for publication, served as member of the Trident Scholars Committee, and prepared a feasibility study for a ten-instructor mandatory military ethics course for the Academic Dean after researching other service academies. He separated from active duty in 1988 and joined reserve unit CINCIBERLANT DET 106 (Commander in Chief, Iberian Forces Atlantic) as Assistant Operations Officer, drilling in the Pentagon and standing summer active duty command watches in Portugal for multinational NATO exercises until 1993. He retired honorably in 2000 as Lieutenant Commander. He served over seven and a half years on active duty. Operations took his ships near Cuba, Lebanon, Oman, and Diego Garcia, and included the Caribbean Sea, Atlantic Ocean, North Sea, Mediterranean Sea, and through the Suez Canal to the Indian Ocean. His liberty ports and other liberty included England, Scotland, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Sicily, Greece, Sri Lanka, Kenya, the Virgin Islands, and the Bahamas. His stateside homeports, ports of call, and / or shore duty stations were in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Rhode Island.
Official U.S. Navy Photo, 1982
Six Month Deployment to the Indian Ocean
In 1990 Dejnožka visited some fifty relatives and friends in Bohemia, Moravia, and Slovakia after their liberation from Soviet domination. In 1991 he entered the University of Michigan School of Law at Ann Arbor, but took a two year leave of absence as Visiting Scholar in Philosophy in the Rackham School of Graduate Studies. In 1992 he married Chung Hwa Choi, born in Seoul, South Korea. He earned his J.D. in law in 1996, and was then a Visiting Scholar in Law and Philosophy in the Rackham School of Graduate Studies until 2001. He has been a Research Fellow of Union College since 1980. He served as law clerk and judicial attorney to Hon. Bill Callahan, Circuit Court of Wayne County, Michigan from March 1997 to November 1998, general civil and family law dockets. Then he served as Domestic Relations Specialist at Wayne County Friend of the Court from November 1998 to January 2018, processing about a thousand family law cases a year, including divorces, paternity cases, child support cases, and interstate cases. He retired on January 8, 2018. Thus he served a total of almost 21 years at Wayne County Circuit Court. He was a member of the Master Lawyers Section of the Michigan Bar, and remains a member of the Maryland Bar. The Dejnožkas have two daughters, Julie and Marina, who are currently both serving their country on active duty in the U.S. Navy.
Note on correct spelling and pronunciation of author’s name
There are three points to make. First, in Czech, as in many other European languages, the letter “j” is pronounced as a ‘y’. Second, the Czech letter “ž” in “Dejnožka” is not in the English alphabet. The letter is called “z s háčkem,” meaning “z with a hook.” The diacritical hook looks basically the same as the caret mark in English. The letter “ž” is usually pronounced zh, but it is pronounced sh before voiceless k. The letter is a WordPerfect multinational character, and is also in Microsoft Word and OpenOffice. Third, in Czech the primary accent is always on the first syllable, with secondary accents on every other (i.e. third, fifth) syllable. Thus, following these three points, “Jan Dejnožka” is pronounced “Yon DAY-no-shka.”
This page was updated April 17, 2019.
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