Lieutenant Colonel Cleo Philip "Pete" Stapleton, U.S.M.C. (ret), 82, passed away peacefully on Friday at his Cape Carteret home.
A memorial service will be held 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 7 at Munden Funeral Home Chapel with the Rev. John Grayson officiating.
He was preceded in death by his lovely bride of forty years, Harriet Lawrence Stapleton. At his side at the moment of passing was his dear companion of the last twenty years, Virginia Brown. He is survived by three sons, Peter Stapleton of Gotha, Fla., Philip Stapleton of Chapel Hill, N.C. and Stuart Stapleton of Brandon, Fla.; and nine grandchildren. Known by Pete to his friends and Colonel to his family, he was born and raised in Yakima, Washington. He and his family moved to Carteret County in 1972 when he became stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Enlisting in the Marine Corps at the age of 18, he attended boot camp at San Diego. His combat experience started with deployment with the First Provisional Brigade to Korea 1950. In Korea, he participated in the defense of the Pusan Perimeter, the Inchon Landing, the Wonson Landing and the Chosin Reservoir Campaign where he served as a rifleman during the fighting withdrawal to the sea. He later had a combat tour in Vietnam serving the Quang Tri province in '68 and '69. His awards are a Bronze Star with combat "V", Navy Commendation Medal with combat "V" and star, Good Conduct Medal, Vietnamese Bronze Cross of Gallantry and various campaign ribbons. Rising through the ranks and then ultimately attending Officer's Candidate School and Command and Staff College, he crossed over from enlisted man to officer, a rare feat for few military personnel, a "Mustang" among Marines.
After retiring from the Marine Corps in 1976, he attended East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C., where he attained a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration. He worked at the Morehead City division of Blue Bell for eight years in various management positions. His final job for 14 years was Senior Shift Manager at Jungleland Amusement Park in Atlantic Beach, N.C. where he was known simply as "Tiger."
Pete was a proud member of the Chosin Few and served variously as Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. He was also a member of the local V.F.W. Pete will be remembered as a man who lived by the credo "Semper Fi" and all that it stands for.
Condolences may be made to the family at mundenfuneralhome.net and JDNews.com.
Arrangements by Munden Funeral Home and Crematory Inc. of Morehead City.