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Murphy Funeral Homes

4510 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA

OBITUARY

Marshall Edward Gilbert Sr.

November 24, 1936June 4, 2020
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Rear Admiral Marshall E. (“Ed”) Gilbert, US Coast Guard (Ret.), 83, of Arlington, VA passed away unexpectedly, but peacefully at his home on June 4, 2020. He was born in Thomaston, GA on November 24, 1936 to Rufus and Maggie (Collins) Gilbert. On May 27, 1958, he married the love of his life, the former Melinda Ashcraft of New London, CT at the Coast Guard Academy Chapel also in New London.

After graduating from the Coast Guard Academy with a BS in Engineering, Ed enjoyed a distinguished 35-year Coast Guard career. He held numerous command positions during his career, both afloat and ashore, including command of a Patrol Boat in Vietnam, various staff assignments at Coast Guard Headquarters, and commands of Coast Guard Group St. Petersburg and the 11th Coast Guard District. As a telecommunications specialist, on multiple occasions, he represented the United States at major international maritime and telecommunications conferences. His post-graduate education included a BS in Communications Engineering from the US Naval Postgraduate School, a Masters Degree in Communications Engineering from The George Washington University (first in his cohort), and he was a graduate of the US Army War College. His military service awards include: Legion of Merit, three Meritorious Service Medals, the Bronze Star, three Coast Guard Commendation Medals, and the Coast Guard Achievement Medal.

In 1993, following his military service, Ed formed Gilbert & Associates, Inc. This company provided dedicated senior level consulting for a wide array of companies, both domestic and international, and specialized in Maritime Telecommunications. He continued this work throughout his lifetime. He was a well-respected representative and member of numerous organizations. He was especially proud of his work with Radio Technical Commission for Maritime Services (RTCM) and the Coast Guard Foundation.

Ed was an avid golfer with a single digit handicap for most of his life. In later years, he could even claim to shoot his age. Central to his core, however, was his love and dedication to his family. He strove to develop strong relationships and positively influence those dear to him.

He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Melinda, daughters Pamela Kennedy (Richmond, VA) and Sabrina Brassard (Arlington, VA), six grandchildren, two great grandchildren, and his sister, Joyce Holland (Thomaston, GA). He was preceded in death by his son, Marshall E. Gilbert, Jr., and brothers Eugene Gilbert and John Gilbert.

If you have any questions or if you would like to reach the family, you can contact edwardgilbertfamily@gmail.com or search the Murphy’s Funeral Home web-site. In lieu of flowers, we ask that you consider contributing to the Coast Guard Foundation or to NAMI - National Alliance on Mental Illness.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to the US Coast Guard Foundation, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), or any other charity of your choice. Internment at Arlington National Cemetery is expected early next year.

Services

  • Visitation

    Saturday, June 13, 2020

  • Visitation

    Saturday, June 13, 2020

Memories

Marshall Edward Gilbert Sr.

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Fred Burgess

June 12, 2020

Loyalty was a hallmark of Ed.

His more recent efforts come to mind. When class activities were scheduled, Ed could always be counted on to participate with his easy personality and wry sense of humor. At the stage of life that classmates are making more frequent trips to Arlington National Cemetery, Ed always made time to attend and provide comfort to the surviving spouses. Bonds forged over 65 years ago have remained unbroken.

Though long retired, his loyalty to Coast Guard and its personnel never wavered. When the recent government shut down resulted in Coast Guard personnel not being paid, Ed was instrumental in organizing and collecting funds for hurting active duty personnel - using his Army Navy Country Club as a collecting point - above and beyond the call of duty!

The bright light he shined on everyone will be sorely missed.

Semper Paratus!

Our condolences to Linda and family.

Fred Burgess, CAPT USCG (Ret.),
USCGA ‘58
Taffy Burgess

Bob Montgomery

June 9, 2020

Ed was an inspiration on many levels. From his strategic mind, to his generous time and effort to the Coast Guard Foundation, and referring some top Coast Guard talent to me over the years, i was truly honored to call him a friend.

mike kiley

June 9, 2020

Seldom have I met a gentleman golfer such as Ed Gilbert. I always enjoyed my time around Ed and I will treasure memories of our time together at Army Navy. Best, Mike and Nancy Kiley

skip onstad

June 9, 2020

I have had more respect and admiration for Ed than most anyone I have ever met, worked with or otherwise associated with. His quiet but confident leadership style and ability to positively influence those about him made him a truly unique leader and friend. I will miss being able to pick up the phone, place the call and get his take on whatever was on my mind.

Kevin Dillard

June 9, 2020

Our condolences for your loss. Ed was a wonderful man and I enjoyed many fun days with him on the golf course. His calming voice and generosity will be remembered by all. - Kevin and Tracy

Lee Luft

June 9, 2020

I want to express my sincere and heart-felt sympathy to the entire Gilbert family on the loss of RADM Edward Gilbert.

Much that I can say, others will likely say as well. Ed was a pillar in the U.S. Maritime Community and recognized abroad. He demonstrated time and again, at every turn, his passion and desire to make things better for mariners worldwide. His service to the country goes without saying. There is no replacement or equivalent to Ed, and he will be missed by so many of his “extended” family of friends and colleagues.

On a more personal note, I first met Ed in the early 90s, when he contacted me to assist him in preparing for a legal case in California involving a maritime dispute. My assistance was in the area of navigation, based on GPS data available via certain interface protocols to the vessels in question at that time.

Since that first interaction, Ed and I became friends. Over the years we had several discussion about personal matters, including dealing with dementia and Alzheimer’s as he had a family member with that affliction. I previously had the experience of providing home care to a family member with Alzheimers. Ed expressed interest in my hobby of making maple syrup, and we talked about that many times over the years. I suspect he had a sweet tooth for maple syrup.

Ed always greeted me and others with a warm and sincere smile, and sometimes a wise remark. There was always a humorous side to Ed. I, and so many, will miss him for the person he was, for always being a friend, for being the “GoTo” guy on almost any Maritime subject, and for being the pillar he became in the maritime community.

With my deepest sympathies for your loss,
Lee A Luft

Ed and Pame Wendlandt

June 9, 2020

RADM Gilbert was a mentor in recent years and gave so much to RTCM often volunteering for the toughest projects. The ideas he brought forth and the ease in which he was able to do everything was absolutely inspiring. Pam and I loved the way he brought so much energy and passion to RTCM and how his presence would light up a meeting whether it was in the same room or over the phone. We are so thankful and blessed to have learned from him and shared so many experiences these past two years from traveling to London for meetings last summer to him taking the time to give our son his first real golf lessons. His love and joy for his family was ever present and one we strive to emulate. We will miss him deeply. Our hearts go out to the wonderful Gilbert family.

Sean Ford

June 8, 2020

Very sorry for your loss, Melinda and other Gilberts.

I knew Ed for many years at Army Navy, and he was a true gentleman who always had a warm greeting and kind word. He will be missed and remembered fondly by his many friends there.

Blessings to the Gilbert family during this difficult time.

Donald Dyer

June 8, 2020

The Admiral was there to commission my OCS Class in July of 1989 at RTC Yorktown, and I am forever grateful for his hearty instructions to my class of new Ensigns. May all of you find peace celebrating his life well lived. Fair winds and following seas -D. Dyer, CAPT (ret.) USCG.

Robert Douville

June 8, 2020

RADM Gilbert and I were plank owners when Squadron One was commissioned at the small boats dock on then Government Island circa May 1965. I was a junior petty officer then. He was a senior lieutenant. From my vantage point (enlisted admin staff) as we made our way to Vietnam and took up station at Phu Quoc Island it became clear to me that LT Gilbert had become a quiet confidante of the highly stressed Squadron commander. I was too naive to realize I was observing a young officer exhibiting those qualities the Coast Guard looks for in choosing leaders. Through the years I have seen the Admiral once or twice socially. He was a fine officer and gentleman. RIP. Cdr. Robert T. Douville, USCG(Ret.)

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