Deceased January 17, 2012
Henry W. “Pop” Seeley Jr., beloved father, grandfather and friend, died Jan. 17, 2012, at his home in Vero Beach, Fla. Born in Washington, Conn., Pop attended the Gunnery School and played varsity football and baseball at Amherst. He earned a master’s from George Washington University and was married for 63 years to Joan Lilley.
Pop attended the first candidates’ class for the U.S. Marine Corps in Quantico, Va., shortly before the outbreak of World War II. He participated in the invasions of Guadalcanal, Peleliu and Philippines, mostly with the First Marine Division. He also served on Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s staff in the Philippines. Pop received a Bronze Star for actions during the invasion of Peleliu.
At the outbreak of the Korean conflict in 1950, he was assigned command of emergency loading and logistics to equip the invasion force convoy embarking to Inchon. Here he earned a second Bronze Star. He accompanied the First Marine Division into North Korea and was assigned to Task Force Drysdale, a group sent to rescue trapped forces, including U.S. and Royal Marines at the Chosin Resevoir. The task force was overrun, surrounded and divided. After refusing to surrender, Pop broke out of the entrapment with dozens of men under his command and forced heavy enemy casualties. For this action, he received a Silver Star and Purple Heart.
Pop retired from the Marine Corps as a full colonel in 1963 and embarked on a career in business, first with College Life Insurance Co. in Indianapolis and then with Louis Allen Associates in Chicago; Johannesburg, South Africa; and Palo Alto, Calif., where he served as president of the company. He retired in 1983.
Pop received Amherst’s Distinguished Service Award in 2009 at his 70th reunion. In 2011 the Honor Flights organization escorted him to the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. Pop is survived by two daughters, Margaret Mseo and Robin Seeley; a son, Greg Seeley; three grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.