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A tribute straight from the hearts of a loving family

Ledyard - After an incredible 85-year journey, Glenn Neal Arthur Jr., passed away at home in Gales Ferry with his loving and beloved wife, Barbara Griffith Arthur by his side, on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017. He was born on May 22, 1932, in Washington, Pa., to Glenn and Freda (Chivers) Arthur.

Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, Glenn, who went by "Punky" in the halls of Chartiers-Houston Township High School, was a star football, basketball and baseball player. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy on June 3, 1955, and married his childhood sweetheart, Dorothy "Dot" Carroll Arthur the same day. He enjoyed telling people that he was a bachelor for only two hours!

Glenn spent many happy hours in the Carroll home while growing up. He considered himself a member of the huge, extended Carroll family. Dot's parents, John and Nora, were truly his second set of parents. Dot's siblings, Patricia, John "Buddy", Joan, Jim, Noreen, and Bill, were also extremely important to Glenn. They cheered him on when he left for the Naval Academy, and that support continued throughout the rest of his life. He was always especially thankful for their support of Dot and his children when he was away on submarines for extended periods of time.

Glenn's first Naval assignment took the Arthurs to California, where their first child, daughter Shelley, was born. Not quite a year later, the Arthur family's second cross-country move brought them to Groton, where Glenn attended the Naval Submarine School, and where their second daughter, Marcy, was born. Upon graduation from Submarine School, Glenn received orders to USS Spikefish at Key West, Fla., where daughter Cindy was to be born. In 1959, while Glenn was on an extended deployment, Dot took the girls home to Pennsylvania, where daughter number four, Dotty, arrived. With four babies in four years, it was easy to decipher when Glenn was home and when he was at sea.

In 1962, son Glenn was born in Portsmouth, Va. Finally, a boy! By this time, the family was living in Virginia Beach, Va. This provided a favorite vacation destination for Pennsylvania relatives. Numerous beach houses would be rented and adults and children alike would have one giant beach party. Uncle Punky was THE KING CRAB chasing all of the kids all over the beach!

The Arthurs moved to Charleston, S.C. in 1967 for Glenn's tour as executive officer on the USS Sam Rayburn. It was in Charleston that Glenn and Dot's sixth child, Mark, was born in 1967. Glenn informed Dot that they were halfway through building their family. Dot did not need to respond verbally; her look said it all! He said that he needed at least enough for a baseball team, but Dot insisted he would have to make do with what he had!

As the Arthur kids were growing up, the Sunday afternoon drive was a family tradition when Glenn was not at sea. Everyone would pile into the current station wagon and roam the countryside with Glenn at the wheel. He loved to sing! Some of the kids wished that he wouldn't sing so loudly (especially if they were sitting next to him in church). He taught the kids all of the songs that he learned while growing up. "You Are My Sunshine" was a favorite.

Glenn also loved being on the water. He bought a boat for the family in Charleston and many weekend days were spent exploring the sights and beaches along the inter-coastal waterway. The boat followed the station wagon to wherever the Navy ordered Glenn. From Virginia Beach to the Mississippi Gulf Coast to Pachaug Pond in Connecticut, the Arthurs and their extended family and friends spent countless hours learning how to water ski, picnicking on deserted beaches or just enjoying a boat ride.

From Charleston, the Arthur clan moved back to Virginia Beach in 1968 where Glenn was assigned to the COMSUBLANT staff. They moved to the Washington, D.C. area in 1971 for Glenn to attend the Submarine Prospective Commanding Officer School. In 1972 he reported to Pascagoula, Miss., as the commanding officer of the USS William H. Bates, a brand-new, fast attack submarine. After the ship was commissioned, it was assigned to the subbase in Groton. The Arthurs made what was to be their final move to Gales Ferry in 1973.

Between 1971 and 1974 Glenn and Dot had four teenage girls in middle school and high school. And they all survived intact! Dot suggested that the entire front yard be paved because there were always so many cars parked at the house. Glenn threatened on a weekly basis to install a pay phone in the upstairs hallway.

Over the course of his numerous Navy assignments, Glenn was a respected and loved guiding light to many sailors who served with him. He and Dot provided a home-away-from-home to many young officers and their families. Many of these families have maintained close contact with Glenn to this day

After his retirement from the Navy, Glenn began working as a principal analyst at Sonalysts, Inc., in Waterford, where his Navy command and nuclear engineering experience proved invaluable.

Glenn's life of public service did not end when he retired from the Navy. In 1981, he was elected to the Board of Education in the Town of Ledyard. He also served in the Ledyard Little League for many years, both as a coach and as a commissioner.

In 1982, Glenn was tragically predeceased by his son, Glenn, who succumbed to a brain aneurysm.

Glenn was elected to the Connecticut House of Representatives, where he served for 10 years, including as the ranking member of the appropriations committee. He was a legislator of great honesty and integrity and was regarded with great respect by fellow representatives on both sides of the aisle.

In 1995, he was appointed by Governor John Rowland to be one of five commissioners of the Department of Public Utility Control, where his years as ranking member of the Joint Energy and Public Utilities Committee proved especially valuable. He retired from that position and from state service in 2003.

By 1993, Glenn and Dot joyfully counted ten grandchildren (nine boys and one poor girl!). Glenn was a doting grandfather, much to the consternation of his daughters. One of his favorite activities with an infant grandchild was laying them on the dining room table in front of him after a family meal and letting them teethe on a strip of black licorice! Of course, he was never the one to clean up the mess, on either the table or the baby!

The Arthurs were devastated by the tragic loss of Dot to brain cancer in 1996. Glenn was cast adrift, heartbroken by her passing, having already suffered the loss of his eldest son.

Glenn was remarried to Barbara Griffith, in Fairfax, Va., on Nov. 1, 1997. Barbara was the widow of Rear Admiral Dwaine Griffith, who was also a submariner. The wedding was welcomed by their many mutual friends. Both Glenn and Barbara were still enduring the heartache of losing their best friends, but fate brought them together at a time when they needed each other most, to begin a new chapter of their lives.

The new Arthur/Griffith family consisted of Glenn's five children, their spouses, and ten grandchildren, and Barbara's three children, their spouses, and one granddaughter and one grandson. Glenn's eleventh grandson (another boy!) arrived in 1999. And, on Barbara's side, two more grandsons arrived in 1999 and another granddaughter, the baby of the whole family, arrived in 2002. As of Aug. 25, 2017, Glenn and Barbara had 16 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

Glenn and Barbara spent much of their time together traveling, both for their own pleasure and to visit their kids and grandkids, who were scattered all over the country. They would often drive out of their way on a trip to visit their own siblings, other relatives, or longtime Navy friends. They were devoted attendees at graduations, weddings and changes of command. And a birthday was never complete without listening to them sing a "Happy Birthday" duet over the phone.

Glenn received the great honor of being inducted into the Connecticut Veterans' Hall of Fame in 2016.

Glenn was an active member of the Rotary for many years. He was an active member of the United Methodist Church of Gales Ferry since 1982. He was active in The Navy Submarine League and the U.S. Submarine Veterans.

Glenn is survived by Barbara; his daughters, Michele Pasko (CAPT John Pasko, USN retired), Assistant State's Attorney Marcia Pillsbury (her former spouse, CAPT James Pillsbury, USN retired), Cynthia Castro (Kim Castro), and Dorothy Boland (CAPT Donald Boland, USN retired); his son, Mark; his stepdaughters, Kimberly de la Vega and Cynthia Magner (Peter Magner); his stepson, Dwaine Griffith; his grandchildren, Kyle Castro (Amanda Serna), MAJ Joseph Pasko, USAF (Heather Pasko), D.J. Boland (Kelly Boland), Lt. Adam Boland, USN, Dr. Daniel Pasko (Dr. Johanna Pasko), Colby Castro (Jessica Chitti), Lt. Brian Boland, USN (Rachel Boland), Kaitlyn Pasko Keefe (LCDR Jake Keefe, USN), Charles Pillsbury, Elliott Pillsbury, Anna Griffith, James Pillsbury, Drew de la Vega, Cameron Magner, Matthew Griffith, and MacKenzie Magner; and his great-grandchildren, Joey Boland, Sadie Castro, Natalie Boland, Lucy Castro, Eliza Boland, Isla Pasko, Finley Pasko, Gwen Boland, Ari Castro, Anson Pasko, and Thomas Boland. He is also survived by an enormous, loving, extended family of cousins, nieces, and nephews.

Glenn was predeceased by his six siblings, Jean Arthur Montecino, Dr. James S. Arthur, Evelyn Arthur Cordy, Melvin Arthur, Jack Arthur, and Freda Mae Arthur.

Visitation will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Sept. 8, 2017, at the Mystic Funeral Home, Route 1, Mystic. The services will occur the following day, at 11 a.m. Sept. 9, at The United Methodist Church of Gales Ferry, at 10 Chapman Lane.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the United Methodist Church of Gales Ferry, 10 Chapman Lane, Gales Ferry, CT 06335, or the foundation or charity of your choosing.

Published in The Day on Aug. 31, 2017

 

 
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