Local retired general passes away

Cone made Shawano his home since 2014
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Leader Staff


Leader File Photo Retired U.S. Army Gen. Robert Cone addresses the crowd at Woodlawn Ceremony in Shawano during the 2014 Memorial Day ceremonies. Cone passed away Sunday.

Retired four-star Army Gen. Robert W. Cone, of Shawano, died Monday at the age of 59.

Cone and his wife, Jill, retired to Shawano in 2014. He spoke at the city’s Memorial Day program in Woodlawn Cemetery that year.

“Since we first started spending time up here some seven years ago, I have been tremendously impressed by the strength and commitment of veterans organizations in the local area,” he said.

Cone, a native of Manchester, New Hampshire, graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1979.

He was commander of Fort Hood from 2009-2011 and was widely praised for his leadership in the aftermath of the Nidal Hasan attack in 2009 that killed 13 people.

He deployed to Iraq as the deputy commanding general for operations — the second-highest ranking military member for United States Division-Iraq — and was responsible for operations throughout the country, including the development and training of Iraqi Security Forces.

Cone retired as commander of the U.S. Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, which is responsible for training, recruitment and integration of new equipment for the Army, in March 2014.

According to online reports, he was diagnosed with with stage four metastatic prostate cancer in 2011.

Cone passed away at Bellin Hospital in Green Bay on Sunday.

“Today was the worst day of my life,” Jill Cone wrote in a post on Facebook. “Last night, as I left the hospital and kissed Bob goodbye, he said, ‘I’m going home tomorrow.’ And he was right. God took Bob home. No more doctor appointments, needles, drugs, oxygen tanks or worries — just peace.”

“We had a five-year goodbye and it was beautiful,” Jill Cone wrote. “We lived life with appreciation for the things that matter. We grew in our faith and our love for each other.”

The flag at Bellin Hospital was lowered to half-staff in Cone’s honor.

“I know Bob would have objected because that’s not authorized protocol,” Jill Cone noted. “That gave me a smile.”

He will be buried at Arlington Cemetery. Arrangements were still pending Tuesday.

“We will honor and celebrate his life, as a Cavalryman deserves,” Jill Cone said in her posting.

The family has asked that instead of flowers, donations be made to Hope Community Church in Shawano.

Lt. Gen. Sean B. MacFarland, III Corps and Fort Hood commander, issued the following statement Tuesday: “The III Armored Corps and Fort Hood team is deeply saddened by the recent passing of retired Gen. Robert W. Cone. … He was a brilliant and caring leader who served our nation in a challenging era. Our hearts go out to his family during this difficult time.”