Thursday, November 6, 2008

Colonel Eugene Milton Orton, 96, U.S. Army (retired, of Denver, Colorado, died peacefully on october 30, 2008, born November 24, 1911, to Eugene D and Blanche M Orton in Wichita, Kansas; his family soon moved to Joplin, Missouri, whee he spent is formative years. After graduating from Joplin High School in 1929, Gene and three friends embarked on a cross-country road trip from Joplin to Los Angeles.

While on that epic journey, he climbed Pikes Peak on foot, arriving at the summit just in time to catch the last train down the mountain base. In 1933, Gene graduated from the Civilian Military Training Corps (CMTC) and received his officer's commission in the brown-shoe U.S. Army. His very first assignment was a Company Commander with President roosevelt's Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), whee he served as a company officer at Roaring River State Park, #1713.

He married Elizabeth Ray, of Cassville, in 1934. They had one daughter, Mary Ann. In World War II, Colonel Orton was a proud member of the Sixth Infantry Division, participating in ground combat operations on both New Guinea and the Philippines. At war's end, he performed occupation duty in Korea. In 1949, he once again returned to Korea as part of Korean Military Assistance Group (KMAG).

He married Vera Malanchuk in 1950 and had twin boys, Robert E and Eugene W Orton.

The highlights of Gene's Army career was his assignment as NATO liaison Officer to the Turkish General Staff, where he earned unprecedented trust and friendship from the government of Turkey. He retired from the Army in 1967. His military awards were numerous including the Legion of Merit, two Bronze Star Medals, Air Medal, Purple Heart, and the Combat Infantryman's Badge.

Throughout his adult life, he was active in many professional and humanitarian organizations, among which were the Masonic Lodge, El Jebel Shrine, the VFW, the American Legion, Military Order of the World Wars, Military Officers' Association of America, and Military Police Corps Association.

His wife Vera, and his daughter, Mary Ann Truhitte, of Cassville, Missouri, preceded Gene in death.

Colonel Orton is survived by his two sons, Eugene W. Orton (wife Nina) of Denver, Colorado, and Robert E Orton (wife Maria) of Aurora, Colorado; grandchildren, Eric, Andrew, and Andrea Orton, of Denver, and Michelle Fields, of Cassville, Missouri; Great grandchildren Brooke Fields, Jade Steele and Jessica Freeman, of Cassville; and great great grandchildren, Jacob and Marissa Freeman.

Memorial services will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, November 7, 2008, at Fairmount Cemetery's Ivy Chapel. Graveside service with military honors immediately follows at 12:30 p.m. at Fort Logan National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Gene's honor to the Fisher House Foundation, website Http:// Condolences may be sent to Paid