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Clem Silvestro 1924 - October 20, 2014

posted Oct 31, 2014, 8:44 AM by Ned Peirce   [ updated Oct 31, 2014, 8:58 AM ]

CLEMENT M. SILVESTRO

CLEMENT M. SILVESTRO Obituary
SILVESTRO, Clement M. 90, of Hancock Point, Maine, died peacefully on October 20, 2014.
 
He was born in New Haven, Connecticut. A first generation American, Dr. Silvestro believed in the opportunities of America and higher
ducation. He would become a director and advisor to many of the country's premier history institutions to educate and interest the public
in understanding our national heritage. He was Chairman of the Advisory Council for Historic Preservation, a Presidential appointment,
and a US representative to UNESCO. He was a 33rd Degree Scottish Rite Mason, Valley of Boston.
 
He was in the first class of 18 year olds to be called into WWII service in the Pacific. He flew 38 missions against enemy targets in the
South and Central Pacific, the Philippines, Formosa (Taiwan) and China serving as a tail and belly gunner on a B-24 Bomber in the 2nd
Bomb Squadron, 22nd Bomb Group (Red Raiders), U.S. Army Fifth Air Force. Honorably discharged in October, 1945, he was awarded
the Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf clusters, and nine campaign battle stars.
 
Graduating in 1949 from Central Connecticut State College, New Britain on the G.I. Bill, he became enthralled by both history and his
Instructor, who the next year, would become his beloved wife Betty of 60 years. He received his MS degree in American History at the
University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1951, where both he and Betty received their PhD's in 1959.
 
Dr. Silvestro served from 1957-1964 as the first Director of the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) in the United
States and Canada. He was selected in 1964 as Associate Director of the Chicago History Museum (then the Chicago Historical Society),
becoming Director the following year. He led the funding and construction of a $4.5 million addition to the Museum, making notable
acquisitions for the museum and library permanent collections.
 
He served on the Mayor's Commission on Chicago Historical and Architectural Landmarks, 1968-74; the Governor's Advisory Council on
Illinois Historic Sites, 1968-74; Regent, Lincoln Academy of Illinois, 1968-74. In 1973, at the invitation of the U.S. State Department, the
Soviet Ministry of Culture, and the American Association of Museums, Dr. Silvestro was one of four American museum directors accorded
access within the then Soviet Union to special collections in the major museums and historic sites of Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev, and Tiflis.
 
He received a Presidential appointment in 1974 as Chairman of the Advisory Council for Historic Preservation, the independent Federal
unit established under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 to monitor and safeguard the archaeological and historical sites on
Federal lands owned by the U.S. Government. He served as Chairman until 1977.
 
The Scottish Rite Masons named Dr. Silvestro in 1974 as founding Director to create the National Heritage Museum, a new museum and
library in Lexington, Massachusetts to develop one of the country's finest collections related to American Freemasonry and to history at the
time of the American Revolution. The six million dollar building, designed by Shepley, Bullfinch, Richardson and Abbott, won an AIA award
for its design. For 18 years until his retirement in 1992, Dr. Silvestro built a talented professional staff, and guided the development of the
collections and exhibits, instituting novel exhibition and collection agreements nationally and internationally.
 
Dr. Silvestro was a member of the Council and Vice President of the American Museums Association, 1965-71; a member of the Advisory
Board of the Eleutherian Mills-Hagley Foundation, Wilmington, Delaware, 1973-76; chairman of the Historic Sites Committee of the
Organization of American Historians, 1973-78; U.S. representation on the International Council of Museums, 1968-72; U.S. representative
UNESCO Committee to Safeguard the City of Venice, 1975-77; member of the advisory panel for the National Foundation of the Arts and
Humanities Arts and Artifacts Indemnity Act, 1975-78; member of the advisory panel for the National Endowment for the Humanities and
the Arts, 1972-78. He was a trustee of the U.S. Capitol Historical Society, 1968-74 and a lecturer on historical museum administration
at Colonial Williamsburg.
 
Predeceased by his wife Betty in 2010, he is survived by his daughter, Elizabeth, her husband, A. James Casner, his grandson, Andrew
James Casner III, a student at Brandeis University; sisters Lucille Zorena, Eleanor Ruby, Rose Laurello, and Anne DeMatteo, his brother,
Anthony; sister in law, Jean Johnson, nieces, Karen Forbes and Anne Ritz, nephew, Jeffrey Johnson and many other relatives and friends.
Sisters Jenney Corniello, Ida Milone, Mary Landino, Sarah Mazzetta, and brothers Alfred, James, and Joseph predeceased him.
 
A private burial will be at the Mt. Hope Cemetery next to Betty, the love of his life. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in memory
of Dr. Silvestro to Courtland Rehabilitation and Living Center, 42 Bucksport Road, Ellsworth, Maine 04605 and to the National Endowment
for the Humanities, 400 7th St SW, Washington, D.C. 20024. Condolences may be expressed at  www.jordanfernald.com

 
Published in The Boston Globe on Oct. 27, 2014: LINK
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