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Retired Marine Corps Col. Eugene Silverthorn passed away Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012. He was 84 years old.
Born in 1928 on the family farm in Marysville, Ohio, Gene moved with his family to Dalhart, Texas, when he was a young boy. After years of struggle during the Dust Bowl, the family returned to the Midwest to settle in Rush County, Ind. Gene attended Purdue University on an NROTC scholarship, and it was there he met his future bride and lifelong companion, Florence Peters.
After graduating from Purdue in 1951, Gene and Flo were married and he began what would be a 30-year career in the Marine Corps. Gene was a veteran of two wars: the Korean War, where he led a platoon of Marines near the 38th parallel, and the Vietnam War, where he directed logistics operations for Marine units out of Da Nang. He also served as the commander of the Marine Corps Combined Arms Training Center at Camp Fuji, Japan. He was a graduate of the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, R.I., and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in Washington, D.C. Gene's last assignment with the Marine Corps was in the Office of the Legislative Assistant, where he interfaced with the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives on issues related to the Marine Corps.
After retiring from the Marine Corps, Gene worked for Northrop Grumman on the design of amphibious landing craft, and later for a logistics startup venture in Northern Virginia.
Gene, or "Silver" as he was known by friends, was an avid outdoorsman and enjoyed a lifetime of hunting and fishing with friends and family. He was a volunteer at the Rod and Gun Club on Marine Corps Base Quantico and served as its president for many years. Under his leadership, the Conservation Volunteer Program conducted detailed land surveys to map wildlife, geographic and historical landmarks on the base. Gene was also known fondly as "Coach" by scores of young men whom he coached on football and baseball teams in California and Norfolk and Alexandria while his sons were growing up.
Gene and Flo purchased property in Spotsylvania County, where they retired in 1991. Their retirement years were spent on a labor of love, developing a family compound for recreation, farming and wildlife conservation that will be a legacy for many future generations to enjoy.
Gene was preceded in death by his wife of 60 years, Florence, who passed away in October 2001, and son Eric, who passed away in December 2009. He is survived by three children: son Alan and his wife, Carol, of Lorton, daughter Dee and her husband, Ross Manire, of Glen Ellyn, Ill., and son Jay and his wife, Love, of Spotsylvania. He was proud of his grandchildren, Adam and Evan Silverthorn, Michelle Tillery and Robert Manire, and his four great-grandchildren.
A private family service is planned.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be sent in memory of Eugene Silverthorn to the Semper Fi Fund, semperfifund.org, to assist injured Marines and their families.
Online condolences may be expressed to Gene's family at foundandsons.com.