Colonel Eugene W. Allen
U.S. Army (Retired)
June 13, 1927 – December 8, 2020
(Please view Eugene W. Allen’s slideshow and guest comments or sign guest book at bottom of the page)
Colonel Eugene W. Allen embodied all that is best as a soldier, patriot, musician, citizen, husband, and father. In a military career that spanned 45 years of service to our nation, he rose through the enlisted and officer ranks to become the senior music director of the Armed Forces. He served in every type of position in the Army Band Program, to include duties as a performer, arranger, drum major, leader, commander, educator, and staff officer. In 1976 Colonel Allen reached the top of his profession when he was selected to be the fifth Leader and Commander of The United States Army Band (“Pershing’s Own”) in Washington, D.C., and he held that position until his retirement in 1990 when he was appointed Conductor Emeritus.
Our beloved father Gene was born in Morgan, TX, as the next to the youngest of twelve children in a musical family. His father was an energetic and strong-willed man who directed professional and school bands, taught private music lessons, and tended the family farm. His mother, a former schoolteacher and clarinet player, was a woman of strong faith who emphasized to her family the value of education and service to others. Gene’s personal values were based on the Protestant beliefs of that era and area which permeated their lives: respect for the rights of others, responsibility for one’s own actions, and the obligation that all should work and earn their own way.
All the Allen children learned to play an instrument, and young Gene was introduced to music at age seven when he began studying mellophone with his father. Trumpet became his primary instrument at age ten, and he enjoyed performing as a soloist and lead trumpeter in school and municipal bands in his local area. During middle and high school, Gene’s interests broadened to include athletics, engineering, and agriculture, but music remained his first love. He attended North Texas State Teachers College briefly as a music major until he received parental approval at age 17 to serve his country near the end of World War II.
Enlistment in the U.S. Coast Guard in 1945 marked the beginning of Gene’s military career. He was assigned as an Electronic Technician in St. Louis, MO, where he traveled throughout 26 states in the Southeast and Midwest to repair electronic equipment. After a short break in service, he began his Army musical service in 1948 at Fort Meade, MD, as a trumpet player with the renowned Army Ground Forces Band, now The United States Army Field Band and Soldiers’ Chorus. Following two years of extensive touring throughout the U.S. with that band, he transferred to the Second Army Band, also at Fort Meade, as solo cornetist and arranger. When the Korean War broke out, the band’s activities expanded to include a weekly television show in Baltimore, and Gene wrote three special arrangements each week for the band to perform on that show.
Gene was only 24 years old in 1951 when he received his first bandmaster assignment to organize and lead the 7th Hospital Band at the Valley Forge Army Hospital in Phoenixville, PA. The activities of this 14-piece band included an extensive entertainment program for patients who had returned from the Korean War. After that band deactivated, he was briefly assigned to the 289th Army Band in Japan before serving as Enlisted Bandleader of the 2nd Infantry Division Band in Korea and the 313th, 493rd, and 336th Army Bands at Fort Benning, GA.
Following his appointment as a Warrant Officer Bandmaster in 1958, Gene led the 101st Airborne Division Band at Fort Campbell, KY, and qualified as a master parachutist. He received a direct commission to Captain in 1961 and became the Staff Bands Officer at the Department of the Army in Washington, D.C., where he supervised all the Army’s Active, Reserve, and National Guard bands worldwide. He served as Associate Bandmaster and Executive Officer of The United States Military Academy Band at West Point, NY, and commanded the U.S. Army Element, School of Music at Little Creek, VA, before a second tour as the Department of the Army Staff Bands Officer. He was assigned to The United States Army Band in 1970 and served as its Associate Bandmaster and Executive Officer until he assumed command of the band in 1976.
As Commander of “Pershing’s Own,” Colonel Allen led and supervised The Army Band’s ensembles in more than 5,000 performances each year at the White House, the Pentagon, the U.S. Capitol, and Arlington National Cemetery; throughout the United States; and in Canada, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Japan, and Australia. They performed at many historical events of the 1970s and 1980s, such as welcoming Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip to the White House; the July 4th Bicentennial concert for an audience of one million people at the Washington Monument; state funerals; and three presidential inaugurations. He conducted the band in our nation’s most well-known concert venues including Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, the Hatch Shell in Boston, and the Hollywood Bowl. Colonel Allen also served as advisor to the White House and the Department of State on national and international military music affairs.
At his retirement ceremony in 1990, Colonel Allen received the Army’s highest peacetime award, the Distinguished Service Medal. Additionally, he was called to the Oval Office where President George H. W. Bush thanked him for 20 years of support to the White House.
Throughout his career, Gene continued his professional development and studied trumpet with James Burke of the Goldman Band and Lloyd Geisler of the National Symphony Orchestra and studied conducting with Hugh Fiorato and arranging and orchestration with Mort Lindsay in New York City. He earned Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees in music education from Teachers College, Columbia University.
As a composer, Colonel Allen wrote numerous songs, fanfares, solos, and marches which were usually inspired by a specific event or need. “A Salute to Veterans” is the official march of the Department of Veterans Affairs; “The Major of St. Lo” march was written for the 40th Anniversary of D-Day to honor the 29th Infantry Division; and “All the Way” is the official march of the 509th Airborne. He also composed songs to honor wives of general officers for whom he worked, including “Kitsy” for Mrs. William Westmoreland and “Carol’s Song” for Mrs. Edward C. Meyer. Colonel Allen’s achievements as an instrumentalist, conductor, composer, and arranger have been recognized by professional associations worldwide. He was a President of the American Bandmasters Association and a member of the Board of Directors for both The Midwest Clinic and the Association of Concert Bands. He was also awarded the prestigious Medal of Honor by The Midwest Clinic.
Soon after Gene was assigned to the Valley Forge Army Hospital, he met Claire Reno, a beautiful and charming woman who worked there as a secretary. It was love at first sight for both of them, and when they spent their first date listening to Alec Wilder recordings, Gene knew that Claire was the woman for him. Married in 1951, Gene and Claire raised a close-knit family of seven children that grew to include eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. In 1985, Gene composed “You’re Always There” for Claire in honor of her selection as the District of Columbia Mother of the Year by American Mothers, Inc. After living in Northern Virginia for 46 years, Gene and Claire moved to Charlotte, NC, in 2014 to be closer to extended family. They were married for 63 years until Claire’s death in 2015. Their favorite activities were sailing their boat “Harmony” on the Potomac River; fishing and crabbing on the North Carolina Outer Banks where they owned a vacation cottage; traveling; visiting their children and grandchildren; and watching the Washington Football Team (formerly known as the Redskins) and Panthers games.
Gene encountered his biggest life challenge shortly after he retired from the Army when he began showing symptoms of a genetic neurological disorder, spinocerebellar ataxia. Although it led to a deterioration of his fine motor skills, a lack of coordination, and an inability to walk, Gene faced this disease with courage, strength, and resilience. He was admired and dearly loved by his family, friends, and caregivers for his positive fighting spirit.
To his family, Gene was Dad, Daddy, Pop, Grandpop. His life was guided by his love for God, family, country, military service, and music. He brought adventure to our lives as we moved with him to different duty stations, met new people, and experienced once-in-a-lifetime music performances and historical events. He taught us to value education and to develop a strong work ethic, and he cultivated in us a lifelong appreciation for music and teamwork by encouraging us to play an instrument and to play sports. He inspired in us a sense of service to others, whether it was through the military, teaching, or community service. He was a man with an abundance of integrity, talent, intelligence, energy, humor, and cherished smiles. We were blessed to accumulate a lifetime of memories with our father and will forever imagine his endearing sign-off in a soft Texas accent at the end of a phone conversation: “Bye now.”
Gene is survived by his children: Phyllis (Walter) Harper, Carole (Matthew) Lechleitner, Virginia Allen, Eugene Allen, Jr., Mary Frances Love, Andrea (Brian) Baker, and Joseph Allen; grandchildren: Matthew (Brooke) Harper, Gregory (Jennie) Harper, Janet Lechleitner, Sara (Michael) Young, Patrick Love, Derek (Allison) Love, Laura Baker, and Mark Baker; and great-grandchildren: Peyton Young, Ryan Harper, Nathan Harper, Josephine Harper, James Harper, Fiona Harper, Peter Young, Finley Love, and Matthew Young. He is also survived by his sister Ida Mae Baxter and many loving nieces and nephews. Gene was preceded in death by his adored wife of 63 years: Claire Reno Allen; parents: Joseph and Safronia (nee Womack) Allen; siblings: Lorene Baer, William Allen, Vernon Allen, Allan Allen, Jack Allen, Lucille Hughes, Vera Daniel, Athan Allen, Annie Jo Freeman, and J.F. Allen, Jr.; and sons-in-law: Otto-Werner Mueller and Stephen Love.
A funeral service and burial at Arlington National Cemetery will be planned at a later date. Memorial gifts in honor of Colonel Allen may be made to Army Emergency Relief at 2530 Crystal Drive, Suite 13161, 13th Floor, Arlington, VA 22202, or online at https://give.armyemergencyrelief.org/default.aspx?tsid=12756.
Eugene Womack Allen Memorial 2020
Col. L. Bryan Shelburne, Jr., USA, Retired says
I met Major Allen in about 1968. I was an Army personnel officer at Fort Eustis, Virginia with two music degrees, when I discovered that Gene Allen was in charge of the Army Element of the Navy hosted “School of Music.” He interviewed me, gave me a battery of tests, and about a month later I received orders reassigning me to the Army Element, School of Music. He was an iconic musician and leader. Claire Allen personified graciousness in her work with the organizations Colonel Allen led and commanded. They were both strong, able, smart, prepared, caring, and they took great care of both “people” and the various “missions” for which they were responsible. To say theirs were iconic examples of leadership falls woefully short of adequately describing their worth to the nation and to the U. S. military.
Fred McCall says
I was a very nervous student at the SOM in 1968. I believe it was Maj Allen and he was the commander of the Army Element at that time. He really impressed me with his musicianship and leadership at a very turbulent time for all of us in the US Army in those days. I was not doing well at the time and he gave me a 2nd chance to to be part of the band program. I ended up doing quite well and went to the CONARC band and after that to the USAREUR band in Heidelberg. I was so very lucky to have been under his leadership. I will never forget him!
James A. Holtzclaw says
Thanks very much for sharing this about your dad and your family. He clearly was an extraordinary man and visionary to have done all that he did and accomplish all that he did. You and your family should be very proud and I was very extremely impressed with your father’s many, many accomplishments. I also really enjoyed the video and the many pictures of you and your family. Thank you very much for sharing.
Paul Schultz says
I will always think of the time in TUSAB, when COL Allen was the Leader and Commander as ‘the good old days’. He did a lot for me. I’m sure he was frustrated with me many times, but never gave up on me! I served under COL Allen from 1971 – 1990.
Guy Zoller says
Colonel Allen and his entire family have been my friends since I was about 14, and my parents were friends long before that. I feel practically related to them, as they were always kind and helpful to me, even when I was probably a teenaged pain. One of the great things about being an Army brat is somehow returning to and maintaining the relationships that matter, and this was certainly one of them. Having the Colonel as a friend meant having Claire and the rest of the family as friends as well. I grew up with the Allen kids, and mourn the loss of Gene Allen as I would a favorite uncle. I will take comfort from my “cousins” in the Allen family as time goes on. Rest In Peace sir.
Roy W. Rohrbaugh, CW4, US Army Retired says
This is a wonderful memorial to your parents. I have never seen nor heard of a more loving and respectful tribute to anyone anywhere. All contributors to this effort are to be commended.
We, (my wife and I), consider it a special privilege to be able to say that we once knew all of these Allen children. Of course that was a very long time ago when we were all very much younger.
Rest in peace Claire and Gene Allen.
God bless you and (all of) yours.
Jean and Roy Rohrbaugh
Dr. Tina Kennelly says
It was a pleasure to know and help take care of your loving and sweet father. I know he is now looking over all of his beautiful children, just as they had been looking after him here in Charlotte. Thank you so much for allowing me to read about his life and accomplishments.
James "Jim" Kee says
I remember the first time I saw Mr. Allen. It was when he pulled into the Company area the first time. He was 31. I thought he will never make it through jump school. He is too old and not in good shape. He proved me wrong. It was difficult for him but his tenacity, courage and never give up attitude got him through to get his wings. The band eventually became the only division size band to be both infantry and airborne qualified. The only one in the history of the US Army before and after. Mr. Allen led us to eventually be named Triple Threats by General Westmoreland. Airborne, Infantry and Musicians. AIRBORNE ALL THE WAY!!
SGM (retired) Glenn Luedtke says
While serving in The U.S.Army Band with Colonel Allen, one of my main duties was as set drummer for popular vocals, Broadway show arrangements, and other tunes requiring a drum set. This is a unique position that involves not just playing the chart, but helping the conductor to maintain tempos and make a full concert band sound like a show band. I’m not quite sure how it happened, but Col. Allen and I quickly developed a rapport that gave me the freedom to improvise while enabling him to relax, assured that our tempo would be rock-solid (with the help of fantastic bassist Janatus “Bill” Taybron). At one point he said to me that I was “his” drummer, and I think that I made every job after that where he was conducting and we had a pop chart to play. There’s something truly magical when a bandleader and a drummer are exactly in sync. It can’t be explained, but you know it when you feel it. I felt it every time Col Allen and I worked together, and I believe he did too. That’s how I became known as “The Colonel’s Drummer”, a sobriquet that I wear proudly. Rest in peace, Colonel.
Jamie Moseley says
Praying for comfort for our sweet family as you continue to cherish the memory of your wonderful father.
J. Cheville, TUSAB, Retired says
To the Allen family,
I was fortunate to have a career in The United States Army Band. I was blessed to have Col. Allen as my commanding officer and Mrs. Allen as a loving and compassionate friend. I’ll grieve the passing for a short while but whenever I think of them it will be with a smile and 1000 wonderful stories.
Rest in peace Col. Allen and Mrs. Allen. May God bless the Allen family.
Brian L. Bowman CMST USAF (RET) says
It was my pleasure to know and work with Col Allen for the years I was in Washington, DC with the Navy Band, The Armed Forces Bicentennial Band and the Air Force Band(1970-91). I especially appreciated his wonderful support of the Tuba & Euphonium Workshops that were held each year at TUSAB. I remember moving into the new building and how happy he was to have that structure instead of the old church where the band was previously. Col. Allen was a truly prime example of a leader, officer and gentleman in every way. Thank you for this wonderful tribute. I will never forget him and treasure the memories of our time together.
Danny Jaynes says
I would like to share some precious memories of this remarkable leader Col. Allen.
1958 Col. Allen’s first assignment as a commissioned Bandmaster was with the 101st Airborne Division Band, Ft. Campbell, KY. It was expected that all leaders in the division would be parachute trained, so he volunteered for jump training. To see his determination and drive to complete parachute training was the driving force that bonded the band to support this outstanding leader. Mr. Allen set high standards not only for himself but for all his soldier/musicians. He always expected the best and we made every effort to measure up. This standard of excellence paid off for the band many times throughout his tenure at Ft. Campbell.
Shortly after his arrival the Band flew to Winnipeg, Canada to parade and play concerts for the American Canadian Field Day celebration. By his example and leadership each of the 101st Abn. Div. Band members was awarded “Honorary Citizenship” of the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Just one of many awards and accolades given the band under his leadership.
One of the goals he set for the band was to become an All Airborne Band. He achieved that goal in late 1958 with 58 members. The band made parachute jumps in Pittsburgh, PA and Miami, FL leading a battle group off the drop zone playing Screaming Eagles.
In 1959 the Division was inspected by 3rd US Army to determine the readiness to deploy quickly. They selected a company on stand by for deployment and the Division Band thinking it was the least prepared for deployment. After three days of testing there were three superior ratings awarded. The Screaming Eagle Band won all three. For this accomplishment Maj. Gen. Westmoreland, division commander, named the band “Triple Threat Band”. Musicians, Parachutists and Infantry Soldiers (which was their secondary mission). Seventeen of the Triple Threat Band members stayed in the Army. Four of them became Army Bandmasters.
It was my pleasure to serve as Bandmaster/Commander of the famous 101st Abn. Div. Band from 1983 to 1986. We had the first of many reunions of the Triple Threat Band in 1984. There were 37 of the original Triple Threat Band members to attend. Col. Allen came back for the reunion as guest conductor. He also spoke at our retreat ceremony honoring three former Triple Threats that were killed in Vietnam: CWO Bill McCarrack, CPT Gordon Hawkins and SFC Donald Lutz.
Thank you Col. and Mrs. Allen for so many fond memories. God Bless you as you rest in peace together for eternity.
James "Jim" Kee says
Well said, Colonel.
Roger Ridenour says
I had no idea when I met COL Allen at a band festival in 1978, I would have a career in music. It was obvious in his interaction with me as well as MSG Ferguson (tpt), he knew what he was doing and where he wanted to go. He was a kind man, not puffed up. He was solid in his approach; but most of all, he was encouraging to a young musician looking for the path ahead. Thank you to the Allen family for sharing your dad with us. He was a giant and his reward will be great.
Jeff Arwood says
I am proud to have served in The US Army Band for over 20 years under Colonel Allen’s leadership. Colonel Allen was a great leader and a wonderful musician and composer. It was an honor and privilege to have served under him as soloist with the Band during his tenure. Colonel and Mrs. Allen were always very supportive and kind to me and I appreciate it very much. They will be missed. Rest in peace, Colonel and Mrs. Allen. The music has ended but the melody lingers on.
William H. Messerschmidt, SGM (Ret.) says
COL. Allen was an outstanding musician and conductor who had the unsurpassed ability to lead TUSAB to the highest level of musical and dramatic impact, military musical excellence, and popular appeal. His total, unselfish dedication to our unit and the welfare of its members has had a wonderful, lasting influence for which we are so grateful. COL. Allen worked tirelessly to help Pershing’s Own achieve recognition as our country’s premier military band, leading us in The National Bicentennial Concert, the Kennedy Center reception for Deng Xiaoping (the first state visit by a leader of The PRC), the Inaugural Concert for President Ronald Reagan, and overseas performances in Canada, Japan, and Australia, to name just a few examples. May his successors always preserve his great legacy and strive to meet the standard of excellence that he set. It was a real privilege and a real honor to serve our country as a member of Pershing’s Own under COL. Allen’s direction. He was a truly great leader and a truly great man.
Tryon Medical Sleep team says
Colonel Eugene W. Allen will forever be in our hearts and minds. It was an honor to work with him over the years. He would always have a smile to share on the gloomiest of days. Thank you for watching over us Gene.
Doug Brown says
Colonel Allen will be remembered in the history of The United States Army Band as its greatest commander. Colonel thought everyday about what was best for its members and made plans to see that The Band was always Special, not just to the Army but to each other. No commander ever accomplished as much as Colonel Allen. I sincerely miss Colonel Allen and wish his family the best life has to offer.
Jim Wishart says
I had the privilege to drive Colonel and Mrs Allen on concert tours around the country for eight years and took some of the photos in that wonderful slide show. As the TUSAB Public Affairs Supervisor, I had a closer relationship with them than most and look back on that time as a highlight in my life. I send my sincere condolences to the entire Allen family. Great memories of a great life.
Dr. Daniel Bolin says
What a great legacy. A giant in the field l of band music, military traditions and service to our country. Certainly one of the greatest of second half of the 20th century.
The tribute is wonderful to read and watch.
Blessings to his family
Colonel Arnald Gabriel says
When I became conductor of the US Air Force Academy Band in 1963, I asked my commanding general if I could visit both West Point and the Naval Academy to learn of their modus operandi. Since we newly activated by only a few years, I felt we could learn from their experiences. Col Allen, then a captain, as was I, graciously showed me the daily and weekly routine of the West Point Band. He was generous in sharing everything.
When I became leader of the US Air Force Band in Washington DC, Gene was assigned to the US Army Band. We continued our friendship which continued for the rest of his life.
Col Allen was not only a brilliant musician, he was a colleague and a dear friend.
Albert K. French, CW4, USA Ret. says
I remember meeting COL Allen at the SOM when he was a Captain. As a new bandsman I was impressed with him then and throughout our careers he continued to impress. A role model we could all look up to and learn from. RIP Colonel. Thanks for all you passed on to us. Blessings of Peace to the Allen family.
CW4 (ret) Scott MacDonald says
Even though I never directly served with COL Allen, I feel that I am a part of his Army Band legacy as a Warrant Officer Bandmaster. Some of my early Commanders in the band field were developed by him and they developed be as a conductor and officer. One thing that sticks in my mind is a lesson I learned about how to walk on to a stage at the start of a concert and how to bow. All lessons from COL Allen that were passed to me. I thank him for his service and mourn his loss. The entire Allen family is in my thoughts and prayers.
CW4 (ret) Scott MacDonald
Shane & Diann Coady says
Dear Mef and the Allen Family.
We had the pleasure of meeting your Dad only a time or (2), which was not enough to get to know your father very well. What we did learn was the immediate, mutual respect that was apparently a “God given gift” with everyone your father met.
Reading his extensive bio and your heartfelt farewell to your Dad is such a special tribute to the leader of the Allen family, and the many men and women that had the opportunity to spend a little time with him. We are quite certain they are better persons because of that.
Thank you for sharing.
We will add your Dad to the pilot light which is continually lit for SR and all our loved ones that have passed.
Garwood Whaley says
I auditioned for Captain Allen at West Point in 1965. Unfortunately, there were no openings but he brought me to his office where he called the TUSAB, the Washington, DC Band and encouraged them to accept me as a member which they did based on his encouragement. I spent the next six year’s in this superb ensemble. During one rehearsal, a Major Allen showed up as the new assistant leader. We were both happy to see one another and from then on became friends. Getting me into TUSAB probably saved my life since it was during the height of the Vietnam War. I will always be thankful to Col Allen for what he did for me and will always appreciate his leadership and high values. He treated all of us with respect and dignity. He was an important person in my life and will surely be missed. RIP
LTC(R) Wayne M. Shipe, US Army says
I knew Colonel Allen during the time that he served as Associate Bandmaster and Executive Officer and later Bandmaster and Commander of the US Army Band (Pershing’s Own) when I served as Chief of Army Bands in Washington, D.C.. Colonel Allen was an outstanding officer and musician and a fine gentleman. It was a pleasure to serve with him.
Chie and Steve Smith says
Dearest Allen Family,
We’re so very honored to be able to watch this amazing video of your beloved father, grandfather, and great-grandfather Eugene W. Allen. What an extraordinary life he led and the legacy he left you all with. May God bless him and your family abundantly during this time and always. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Marco Caluori says
Dear Allen Family,
Fantastic tribute to a great man. I had the privilege to serve in Pershing’s Own for over thirty-one years. For a majority of my time in service it was under the leadership of Colonel Allen. They were some of the best years of my military service. Colonel Allen was truly dedicated to the men and women of Pershing’s Own. Always fair, compassionate when it was necessary, stern when he had to be. His interest and concern for his people and their families was yet another quality I admired about him. So many good memories of my time under his leadership. So sorry to hear of his passing.
Col (Ret) Thomas Palmatier, Ninth Leader and Commander of "Pershing's Own" says
So much of my career has been guided by the many lessons learned from working for Colonel Allen. An amazing legacy!
Paige Lowe, Director of Nursing- Sharon Towers says
Many blessings to your family during this difficult time. It was not only a pleasure but an honor to take care of such a special man. It has also been wonderful working with all of you as you all made his life so worth while. Virtual hugs to you all!
Bill & Ellene Freeman says
We were so sad to hear about Uncle Gene. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you at this time.
Jonathan Gurwitz says
Dear Allen Family:
Our family has so many fond memories of your father and mother, visiting them in Washington, here in San Antonio or at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago. I want to share a few that literally changed the course of my life.
In 1977, I joined my parents on a trip to Washington when my father was president of the former Music Educators National Conference. We went to Fort Myer to visit your family, which included an evening cruise on the Potomac on your sailboat.
That trip, and the cruise, inspired in me a love of DC that led to an interview at Georgetown four years later. I flew to DC and stayed with the family. Gene and Claire were such gracious hosts, giving me a personal tour of Arlington and the monuments. A year later I was back staying with them, before I went across the bridge to enter Georgetown as a freshman. The night before I moved in, the Army Band held a concert at the Lincoln Memorial. I sat in the VIP section with Claire and Joe as Gene conducted.
I will never forget that as we drove through Arlington, we approached a caisson procession. Gene pulled the car over, got out and stood at attention as the caisson passed. It was a beautiful and touching moment that summed up a life of devotion and duty to nation and family.
While our hearts ache that we cannot be there to repay Gene with the same honor, we look forward to visiting him at Arlington when we can return to Washington.
With love and gratitude from the Gurwitz family.
I have so many wonderful memories that come to mind of life with you, Dad, as a child, a teenager, and an adult. I remember you protectively carrying me to the hospital when I was sick as a young child, teaching me how to aggressively guard opponents in basketball games, and visiting the many places we lived as a Navy family. But my most precious memories are of times spent with you later in life – being with you when Mom went to Slovakia and seeing how touched you were that she got to see where her father was born, sharing our love of different jazz musicians and their music, and seeing you live long enough for you to enjoy holding my first grandbaby. I miss you dearly, Dad, but will always appreciate how loved you made me and my family feel.
Remembering that Christmas we spent at the beach house at Colington in the 70s. The warm fires you built to heat the cozy living area. The tree you cut and we decorated with popcorn strings and seashells and topped with a pointed horseshoe crab shell. The Rummy and Crazy 8 card games we played until way past our bed times. The puppy Santa brought Joseph, a gift that would lead to endless adventures with Daisy romping along the shore of Kitty Hawk Bay. Remembering your visits to Boise and Sun Valley in the 90s and how you played Santa for Mark and Laura and took the sleigh ride under the stars with us out to Trail Creek Cabin. So many good memories you left us. Enough to fill the hole your absence brings this Christmas week. I love you forever, Pop.