BERNARD J. "BJ" SAMMON, 84
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U.S. Army Officer
LAKELAND - Bernard J. "BJ" Sammon of Palm Harbor, a career U.S. Army officer who served in Gen. Douglas MacArthur's elite honor guard in Japan, passed away April 30, 2013, in Lakeland, FL., of heart disease. He was 84.
He is survived by his loving family: his wife of 36 years, Eileen C. Sammon of Palm Harbor; children James S. O'Connor (Janet) of Audubon, PA., Heather E. Gordon (Michael) of Lakeland, and Kevin L. O'Connor (Bill Moore) of Pittsburgh, PA.; grandchildren Kira Boyle (Scott) of New York City, Andrew O'Connor of Audubon, Kelsey O'Connor of Audubon, and Michael Guernsey of Pittsburgh; and beloved niece Margaret Wiechmann of Palm Harbor.
He was preceded in death by his son David Lewis Sammon of Shirley, MA.
Born May 12, 1928, in Turtle Creek, PA., Bernard was only 17 years old when he enlisted in the U.S. Army. He served for more than 30 years, retiring as a lieutenant colonel. Among his assignments: 19 months in MacArthur's honor guard, which provided security for the general in Manila and then Tokyo between 1945 and 1951.
Bernard was a past worshipful master of Dunedin Masonic Lodge 192, a founding member and trustee of Faith Covenant Community Church in Palm Harbor, a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and an active member of the Dunedin Council of Organizations and the Dunedin Garden Club.
Intensely proud of his Scottish heritage, Bernard was a member of the Dunedin Highland Games committee for 25 years and a founding member of the New World Celts (Dunedin Chapter). He was selected "Chief of the Day" for the 2011 Games, the first member of the New World Celts to be honored so. He was past president of both the Scottish American Society and the Scottish American Military Society, both in Dunedin.
Two memorial services are planned. The first, honoring Bernard's military, Masonic and Scottish affiliations, will take place Friday, May 17, at 4 p.m. at the Masonic Hall, Michigan Ave., Dunedin. The second will be Sunday, May 19, at 2 p.m. at Faith Covenant Community Church, Nebraska Ave., Palm Harbor.
Arrangements by Curlew Hills Memory Gardens, Palm Harbor.
Curlew Hills Memory Gardens Funeral Home
1750 Curlew Road
Palm Harbor, FL 34683
Published in Ledger from May 16 to May 17, 2013