They say once a Marine, always a Marine.
That certainly goes for Leroy Glover, a 92-year-old Shelton resident who saw active combat during World War II.
Glover’s fondness for the Marines led to him to place a statue of a marine in the back of his Meadow Street property.
He carefully painted the statue, which is more than three feet in height, so the saluting Marine is in its dress blues. He also positioned a small American flag so it appears the Marine is carrying it.
“I really dressed him up in blue, with the red stripes,” Glover said. “It’s a tribute to the Marine Corps and recognition of my being a Marine.”
The Marine is near a similar statue of a firefighter. It’s on a cinderblock base with a sign that says, “T/Sgt — USMC, Leroy Glover, Okinawa, 1942-1945.”
A friend made the base for Glover, who served as a technical sergeant in the Marines, spending time at the Battle of Okinawa.
Glover came to own the Marine statue in a roundabout way. It had belonged to a friend who rented a house from him, and became Glover’s property after his friend’s death.
“I’d see the statue when I went over to collect rent, and I liked it,” he said.
Glover isn’t sure where his friend acquired the statue, which is made of cement.
Enlisted after Pearl Harbor
When the United States entered World War II in late 1941, Glover soon enlisted in the military. He signed up with a friend at a New Haven recruiting station.
Eventually, so did all four of his brothers. All served and all survived the war, but now all his siblings are deceased.
As a member of the Marine Air Corps in the Pacific, Glover spent a lot of time moving from place to place to set up camps for others coming ashore.
A bomb once was dropped on a ship he was on, but no one was killed. At Okinawa, he could see the kamikaze Japanese pilots in the distance slowing down to crash into U.S. planes on the ground.
There were a lot of explosions. “Smoke and fire,” he said. “I was very fortunate.”
Grew up in a simpler city
Glover was born and raised on Meadow Street, coming of age in a city that included a downtown with bustling factories and rural areas with many farms.
“When I grew up, we didn’t have any power equipment,” he said. “It was all hand tools. I once had to saw a building in half to take it down.”
His father, Charles Glover, served two non-consecutive terms as mayor of Shelton in the late 1930s and 1940s.
Charles Glover ran a construction company, and his son Roy learned how to work with his hands at a young age. Roy specialized in carpentry but did other kinds of construction work as well.
He spent a few years at Shelton High but left early over his father’s objections because he wanted to work. “I was always building something,” he said.
His father put him to work and kept him busy. “I wasn’t an engineer but I knew how to build things,” he said.
His company, Glover & Regan, constructed many houses and manufacturing plants around the city. He developed homes on 190 acres in Upper White Hills, near the Housatonic River and close to the Monroe border.
He served as president and board chairman of Shelton Savings & Loan and also was on the board of other local banks.
Glover still owns residential real estate around the city that is rented to tenants.
Once built a helicopter
Glover’s fondness for building things led him to construct a helicopter from a kit in the late 1970s that he would fly over his property. The copter could go about 100 feet off the ground.
He also began constructing an amphibian vehicle but never finished it. “I ran out of steam,” he said, laughing.
Glover flew planes a bit when there was an airfield called Island Airport on Riverdale Avenue, just south of downtown.
He has slowed down a bit through the years, and had to stop driving a car. He then rode a moped for a while, but also had to give that up.
Glover once was an auxiliary state trooper, working out of the Westport barracks. He also was active with the local Republican Party but didn’t run for office.
He has a son, Tom, who runs the family construction firm, and a daughter, Cathy, as well as five grandchildren and a great-grandchild. He has been married twice.