Gilbert Allen Plumb dies at 85

Fri, 04/01/2011 - 5:31pm
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Gilbert Allen Plumb died peacefully at home on March 21, 2011, in Essex, Conn.

Gilbert was born October 6, 1925, in Terryville, Conn. He was a Navy veteran of World War II and the Korean conflict. In World War II he served as engineman first-class aboard LST-736 and saw action in the Pacific at Peleliu-Angaur, Ulithi, Leyte Gulf, Lingayen Gulf, and Okinawa. The vessel earned four battle stars during that time. He settled in Essex, Conn., where he started and operated a highly regarded marine engine business, a marina and a dock and dredge business for nearly 50 years.

In 1978, he built a house on Cormorant Cove in Block Island. From that time on, Gil and his family were frequent visitors to the Block. Gil was an avid reader of naval history and was passionate about lighthouses. He was an active member of the North Light Commission for more than 20 years. Gil and Robbie Gilpin were driving forces in the restoration of the North Light on Block Island. Both received the Bayberry Wreath Award in 2004 for their efforts. Although he was unable to attend the relighting of the North Light this past fall, his friends arranged a Skype connection that enabled a “virtual attendance” from his home in Essex.

The “GAP,” as he was fondly known from his initials, enjoyed frequent visits by friends and family in the past few months. Despite his failing health, he was upbeat although he missed tinkering in his shop and solving mechanical problems. Part of his legacy will be his numerous wood and metal monuments-large and small, simple and complex.

Predeceased by his wife Virginia (Ginny) and son Philip, he is survived by his sister Ellen Cifone, his two sons and their wives, Richard Plumb and Nancy Porter of Cambridge, Mass., and Jonathan Plumb and Dawn Tsolis Plumb of Essex, Conn.; and grandchildren, Emily, Benjamin, Christopher, and Chelsea.

A memorial service will be held at 11:30 a.m., Saturday, April 2, 2011 at the Essex Congregational Church. An additional service celebrating Gil’s life and achievements will be held at a later date on Block Island.

Donations in his memory may be made to the Essex Fire Department, the North Light Foundation or to a charity of one’s choice.