Henry W. 'Pop' Seeley, 94, was veteran of World War II, Korea
Henry W. "Pop" Seeley Jr., died Jan. 17, 2012, at his home at the Indian River Estates in Vero Beach, Fla.
He attended The Gunnery, Amherst College, where he played varsity football and baseball, and George Washington University in Washington D.C., where he earned a master's degree.
Mr. Seeley was married for 63 years to Joan Lilley of Waterbury.
He attended the first candidates' class for the U.S. Marine Corps in Quantico, Va., shortly before the outbreak of World War II.
After graduation, Mr. Seeley taught at the motor transport school, followed by participation in the invasions of Guadalcanal, Peleliu and the Philippines, much of that time with the First Marine Division.
Near the end of the war, he served on Gen. Douglas MacArthur's staff in the Philippines. He was awarded the Bronze Star for actions in combat during the invasion of Peleliu.
At the outbreak of the Korean conflict in 1950, Mr. Seeley was assigned the command of emergency loading and logistics to equip the invasion force convoy embarking to Inchon.
Here, Mr. Seeley earned a second Bronze Star. After landing at Inchon, he accompanied the First Marine Division into North Korea, and ultimately was assigned to Task Force Drysdale, a group sent to rescue trapped forces, including U.S. and Royal Marines trapped at the Chosin Reservoir.
The task force was overrun, surrounded and divided into small units. After directly refusing a demand to surrender made by Chinese commanders, he subsequently broke out of the entrapment with dozens of men under his command and forced heavy enemy casualties.
For this action, he was awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart medals.
Mr. Seeley retired from the Marine Corps as a full colonel in 1963.
He then embarked on a 20-year career in business, first with College Life Insurance Company in Indianapolis and then with Louis Allen Associates, serving in Chicago, Johannesburg, South Africa, and finally in Palo Alto, Calif., where he was president of the company.
He retired in 1983 and moved to Vero Beach.
Mr. Seeley loved poker and parties, and was a master of both. He was a lifelong sports enthusiast and he played golf and tennis until the last year of his life.
He had wide-ranging interests and a large circle of friends made over a lifetime. He was known to have a quiet but professionally competent manner in the way he managed organizations, whether military, business or volunteer.
In 2011, Mr. Seeley was escorted by the Honor Flights organization -- which recognizes and honors World War II veterans -- to the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. with a group of fellow veterans, which was a highlight of his last year of life.
Mr. Seeley is survived by two daughters, Margaret Mikels, of Indianapolis, and Robin Seeley, of Ashland, Ore.; a son, Greg Seeley, of Washington; three grandchildren; two great-grandchildren. In addition to his wife, he was predeceased by two sisters, Helen Seeley deCourcy and Ruth Seeley Fisher.
A memorial celebration was held Feb. 4 at Indian River Estates in Vero Beach.
Burial services in Washington will be private.