Michael Palmer Gleason, 68, of Gwynn’s Island, Va., died June 4, 2013 at the Riverside Regional Medical Center after a brief illness.
He is survived by his wife of 29 years, A. Kendall Lione; sons, D. Palmer Gleason and Trevor E. T. Gleason and wife Celeste A.L. Gleason; a granddaughter, Lara E. Gleason; two grandsons, Devon A. and Fox O. Gleason.
He was born on Feb. 28, 1945 in Roanoke, Va. He was predeceased by his parents, Ethel Elliott and Robert William Gleason, and his brother, Bob.
Mr. Gleason graduated from Lane High School in Charlottesville, Va., and attended the University of Virginia and completed Master’s Degree courses in history at The American University in Washington, D.C. He served seven years in the U.S. Army Reserve as Battalion Information Specialist.
Mr. Gleason began his career in Charlottesville as a newspaper, radio, and television newsman. He served as a Media Assistant to Virginia Congressman John O. Marsh’s district campaign in 1968 and as a top aide to Virginia Sen. J. Sargeant Reynolds’ campaigns for lieutenant governor in 1969. He later co-authored a book, Sarge Reynolds: In the Time of His Life with the late Andrew H. McCutcheon Jr. From 1971-1977, he was Chairman of the Albemarle-Charlottesville Bicentennial Commission and developed the concept of a new Virginia Visitor’s Center in Albemarle County near Monticello. He served on a committee that planned the Virginia visit of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain to Charlottesville for the American Bicentennial in 1976. He received a special commendation from the British Embassy for his role in planning the royal visit, and in 2007 he was a member of the federal Jamestown 400th Commemoration Commission’s U.S./U.K. Committee during the Queen’s visit to Jamestown.
During the 1970s Mr. Gleason wrote and delivered more than 400 speeches in Virginia, throughout the nation and abroad as a member of the Speakers’ Bureau of the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission. In the 1980s Mr. Gleason served as Special Assistant for a member of the U.S. Senate, and worked for two award-winning media companies, Guggenheim Productions and "Smithsonian World," a television series on PBS. He served as a consultant to Explore Park an historical attraction on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Roanoke, Va. He was a Virginia Delegate to the reconvened U.S. Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia to commemorate the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution in 1987. He was also a member of the Commissioning Committee for the launching of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington. He has written history-related Columns for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, and most recently for the Gloucester-Mathews Gazette-Journal. He was also the author of the Insiders’ Guide to the Civil War and the Virginia History Timeline, and publisher of You Don’t Have to be Governor by C. Flippo Hicks.
Mr. Gleason was a recognized Virginia history authority and book author who had more than 45 years of state and national commemorative events planning, communications and public relations. At the time of his death Mr. Gleason was involved with writing projects on his favorite subject, Virginia history.
Mr. Gleason was the founder and Chief Executive of Gleason Publishing, Inc., which published VIRGINIA History and Travel Magazine, the only magazine devoted to history and travel in the Commonwealth. The quarterly magazine ran for nearly two decades and suspended publication in 2005.
From 2003 to 2008 Mr. Gleason was a member of the federal Jamestown 400th Commemoration Commission, established by the U.S. Congress. He was Co-Chairman of the commission’s Administration and Finance Committee and was elected Treasurer.
Visitation will be held at the Fellowship Hall at the Gwynn’s Island Baptist Church, Old Ferry Road, Gwynn, Va., at 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 13. A memorial service will be held at Ware Episcopal Church located on John Clayton Memorial Highway, Gloucester, Va., on Friday, June 14 at 11 a.m.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the Animal Care Society, P.O. Box 121, Mathews, Va. 23109.
Arrangements by Foster-Faulkner Funeral Home, Mathews.