Claude Bruce Siler Sr., 91, of Fort Washington died Jan. 8, 2010, at Charles County Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, La Plata.
Mr. Siler was a District of Columbia Metropolitan Police officer from 1949 through 1974. He was a 32nd-degree Master Mason, a life member of the Washington Daylight Lodge 14 and belonged to the Scottish Rite of Free Masonry, Valley of Washington, Orient of District of Columbia. He led an active and productive early life from working as a ranch hand herding cattle on horseback at his uncle’s ranch in Montana, to building roads and planting trees as part of the Civilian Conservation Corps. He then dedicated his life to public service.
He left the CCC to join the U.S. Marine Corps in 1939, leading the rifle drill team at Quantico Marine Base. When World War II broke out, he traveled to the Pacific Theater and served as a squad leader during the landing at Guadalcanal when his lieutenant was killed by enemy fire. He served in the South Pacific until he was wounded and required rehabilitation. Upon discharge, he made Washington, D.C., his home and worked as a security guard at the National Gallery of Art and at the Naval Research Laboratory. He also joined the U.S. Air Force Reserve, working as a security police officer at Bolling Air Force Base for 20 years.
He spent 25 years with the District police as a beat officer at the 11th Precinct in Anacostia during the 1950s and turbulent 1960s. He was chosen to serve with the special operations division on Capitol Hill for the final eight years of his employment and witnessed history firsthand. Following his retirement, he served with the Library of Congress as a security guard and retired in 1982. To honor his service with the U.S. Marine Corps, he will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Born April 29, 1918, in Brown Branch, Mo., he was the son of the late Jesse Wright Siler and the late Eulah Taber.
He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Orpha Josephine White; children, Regina Misewicz Truslow, Elizabeth and her husband, John Schouten, Claude B. Jr. and his wife, Deborah Siler and Sherry and her husband, Michael Morris; 11 grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and brother and sister, Robert Siler of Ava, Mo., and Ora Monaham Schmidt of Beaufort, S.C.
Visitation, service and burial were private.
Arrangements were handled by Raymond Funeral Service, La Plata.