Edward J.'s Story

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Edward J. Michon, 94, of Ipswich, died on Thursday, August 24, 2017, at the Kaplan Family Hospice House, Danvers after a brief illness, leaving his wife, Jane (Sherman) Michon after 58 years of marriage. Their family included German Shepherd dogs which brought much companionship and happiness to daily living.
Edward was born in Ipswich on December 25, 1922, the son of Polish immigrants. He grew up in Ipswich, and graduated from Ipswich High School as valedictorian of his class of 1940. He was admitted to Harvard College as a scholarship student. He earned his bachelor’s degree in January, 1944, one semester ahead of the normal four years, due to war time accelerated schedule. His next step was U.S. Navel Midshipman School at Plattsburg, N.Y., from where he was commissioned in June, 1944 as an amphibious ship officer. Following brief service on an amphibious landing ship, he was selected by the Navy for the study of Japanese at the U.S. Navy School of Oriental Languages at the University of Colorado in Boulder. After a period of study, he was assigned to serve as interpreter with U.S. Marine Corps units in the Central and Southern Pacific Ocean, based in Truk, located in the Caroline Islands, serving until June 30, 1946. Truk was the strongest and largest naval base in the Pacific, considered Japan’s equivalent of Gibraltar. Japan stationed over 35,000 troops on the Island groups, commanded by a lieutenant general and a vice admiral of the Japanese forces.
As a student, he developed a penchant for languages. Besides Polish and English, which he spoke at home, he studied French, Spanish, and Italian at Harvard and Russian as a naval reserve officer. His favorite language, however, was Latin which he studied for four years in high school. Returning to the United States, he was employed briefly at the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C., as a patent examiner, and subsequently he entered Columbia Business School in January, 1947, and earned his MBA degree in 1949. He then began a long career as an investment manager in New York City, his first jobs beginning on Wall Street at the firms of Brown Brothers Harriman, and Scudder, Stevens and Clark. After 10 years in New York City, he returned to Ipswich and continued his investment management career with Naumkeag Trust Company in Salem, which was acquired by Eastern Bank. He retired from Eastern Bank as vice president and investment officer at the end of 1990, but continued with his career with other firms until the end of 2013, thus completing 64 years of continuous service. Pro bono work included service as a trustee and treasurer of Salem Hospital, now part of North Shore Medical Center, during the years 1970 to 1987, and about 28 years of volunteer service as a patient visitor. He also served on the Board of the Salem YMCA, the House of Seven Gables, the Salem VNA, and Marion Court Junior College in Swampscott. In Ipswich, he was elected to the School Committee for one term, and also served two three-year terms on the Trust Commission, the latter years as chair, and on the Board of Cuvilly Arts Center. He also served on the Board of Harbor School and Family Service of Newbury. After serving active duty in the Navy, Edward continued his service in the U.S. Naval reserves, retiring with the rank of Captain in the U.S. Navy as a reserve officer. During his reserve service, he was selected commanding officer of the First Division U.S. Naval Reserve Intelligence Division in the First Naval District for the years of 1966 to 1968. Assumption of Command exercises were conducted aboard the USS Constitution in Boston Harbor. During his tour of duty, his division was selected as first in the nation as measured in training and readiness. He was assigned commanding officer for another year in a billet whose tenure was usually one year. His years as Naval Officer included weekly drills plus two weeks of active duty annually among which he studied at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I., and at the Foreign Service Institute at the State Department in Washington, D.C. After completing two years of service as commanding officer of the Intelligence Unit, Edward was appointed to serve as a member of the U.S. Naval Intelligence Counseling Board of the First Naval District. The function of the Board was to advise naval officers seeking to work in the Intelligence service.
Personally, Edward enjoyed classical music and especially the Opera while living in New York City, as well as reading poetry and history. His predilection for languages provided opportunities for learning the culture, history and traditions of many empires. A few of his favorites included the Psalms, Virgil’s Aeneid (in Latin), Grey’s Elegy, Shakespeare’s King Lear, Tennyson’s Crossing the Bar, and Robert Frost’s poem, The Road Less Traveled. AVE ATQUE VALE
His funeral service with Naval Honors will be held 11 a.m. on Thursday, August 31, graveside in the Cowles Memorial Cemetery, Town Farm Road, Ipswich. Family and friends are respectfully welcomed. Arrangements are under the direction of the Whittier-Porter Funeral Home of Ipswich. Memorial contributions in his memory may be made to the charity of one’s choice. To leave a condolence please visit www.whittier-porter.com.
Published on  August 28, 2017
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