Gilbert Sprague Jr.
Gilbert G. Sprague Jr., 78, passed away on October 27, 2017. Friends are invited to visit at the Caggiano Memorial Home, 62 Grove Street, Montclair on Thursday, November 2 from 4 to 8pm. The funeral mass is on Friday, November 3 at 10 AM at St Thomas the Apostle Church, 60 Byrd Ave., Bloomfield. The scattering of cremains will be off a Navy vessel privately at a later date.
Gil was born in Trenton, NJ, the son of the late Gilbert and Mary Casey Sprague and had an ideal childhood by the ocean in Beach Haven, NJ. He became a sea scout, the first step of his naval career, while living in Levittown, PA. He spent many years in Colts Neck, NJ and finally moved to Glen Ridge and later Bloomfield, NJ.
Gil started his Navy career after graduating from Pennsbury High School in Pennsylvania. He was part of the Seabees, the naval construction unit. He continued in the naval reserves and served more than twenty-five years with the rank of Chief Warrant Officer (CWO2). He was also part of the Operating Engineers Local 825. He loved his work and could point out many places in Jersey and neighboring states where he contributed to the construction of sites including Giants Stadium and Great Adventure.
The love of machines included a love of motorcycles. He traveled extensively on his Harley, but gave it up for an airplane, a twin engine Beechcraft Baron. He flew that for many years all over the country and Canada. He became a sought after flight instructor.
But there was a quieter side to Gil, one that didn’t include the noise of machines. He was a history buff and was quite knowledgeable about the Civil War and World Wars I and II.
Gil is survived by his wife Elizabeth Salerno and his children Denise, Scott, and Wendy Sprague, stepchildren Eileen Zahn and Brian Naffin (Maggie), Nicolette Salerno (William), and Nicholas Salerno (Nancy). He was grandfather to Juli Donlen, Rachel and Olivia Daniels, Danielle and Patrick Zahn, Roe and Mac Naffin and Ryan and Elizabeth Wallace.
Donations to the United States Navy Memorial (wwwnavymemorial.org) would be appreciated.