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Chief John Meredith Stanley

Chief John Meredith Stanley

Anderson, Madison County, Indiana, USA
Death 30 Oct 1973 (aged 67)
Marblehead, Essex County, Massachusetts, USA
Burial Marblehead, Essex County, Massachusetts, USA
Memorial ID 17301710 · View Source
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Born to Ethan Allen Stanley (March 12, 1863-March 11, 1934) and Mary Susan Little-Stanley (June 21, 1868-February 27, 1909). They were married on December 23, 1893. His mother never recovered from his birth and died after three agonized years.
He had one older sister, Audra, (February 12, 1902-August 18, 1972.) His half brother, Ethan Allen Stanley, Jr.,(November 9, 1913-July 25, 1936) died after a slip and fall accident in the tub.

He was a direct descendant of King Henry III through the Baron Strange line, and great-great-great-great-great grandson of Quaker legend Thomas Stanley I (1662-May 7, 1714). He was also related to Ethan Allen (January 21, 1738-February 11, 1789).

On June 24, 1933, after a one-day courtship, he married Edna Louise "Jackie" Stanley (May 6, 1915-October 11, 2000) of Lubec, Maine. They had one daughter, Marie Elaine, (May 15, 1936). He is the grandfather of author/composer/poet Thorne Peters (August 21, 1962).

After his father remarried, on December 12, 1912, when he was 7, to Laura Wimer (June 14, 1873-September 2, 1932), he was sent to live and work at the family hotel. At the hotel he met a Greek professor who was working there as a short order cook. He learned to speak educated Greek and became known for the rest of his life by the nickname Tony, which was an ethnic variation of his name. He would become fluent in five languages and proficient in a few others. He also learned to play the guitar, harmonica, piano, the violin and the fiddle.

A man of the sea for 50 years, he began his career at 12 as a cabin boy on converted luxury liners bringing soldiers to World War I. At 17, he joined the United States Marine Corps. Was accepted to the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, but was overseas when his appointment came through and did not return in time to enroll. He joined the Navy as an enlisted man when his hitch in the Marines was over.

In the late 1930s, he was stationed in the Atlantic Theater battling U-Boats. In early 1940, he was transferred to the Pacific Theater where he was part of the Naval blockade against Japan. He won campaign ribbons for action in some of the greatest sea battles of the 20th Century during World War II and Korea. (Corregidor, Midway, Phillipines, Coral Seas, Inchon.) Met future presidents John F. Kennedy and Gerald R. Ford during WWII. Several times he turned down promotion to Warren Officer, preferring to keep his poistion as Chief Engineer- the backbone of the Navy.

After WWII, he transferred back and forth between the Navy and the Coast Guard to train Chief Engineers on battle conditions in case of a homeland attack in American waters.

With so much time on his hands during off watches, he immersed himself in books and urged the young sailors to get an education. Rather than taking young men off to get drunk and tatooed on leave, as had been done to him, he stood fire watches for them so they could study to make higher grade. His crew signed up to be tranferred with him wherever he went out of respect and admiration.

He received a personal letter of thanks from President Kennedy for his campaigning efforts that also praised him for his lifetime of duty to the nation.

His last action in the Navy was to participate in the blaockade of Havana during the Cuban Missle Crisis.

After retiring from the Navy, he accepted an offer from the Military Sea Transport Service to train engineers aboard their ships. In return for his 5 years of service, he was given a 20 year pension. He was onboard cargo ships that were sent to South East Asia during the Vietnam War. In 1968 he retired.

He was everyman a king and will be remembered for the devotion of the men who served under him, the respect of the officers that served above him, and the love of the family that revered him and awaited his return from the sea.

Chief Stanley died due to complications from a stroke at Mary A. Alley hospital on October 30, 1973 and was laid to rest with full military honors, including a 21 gun salute, at Waterside Cemetery in Marblehead, Mass on November 3,1973 . . . fittingly in the town known as "The Birthplace of The American Navy".

Family Members

Half Siblings




  • Created by: Thorne Peters
  • Added: 5 Jan 2007
  • Find A Grave Memorial 17301710
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Chief John Meredith Stanley (6 Dec 1905–30 Oct 1973), Find A Grave Memorial no. 17301710, citing Waterside Cemetery, Marblehead, Essex County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Thorne Peters (contributor 46883520) .