An Army officer who was the deputy commander at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Virginia, has died at his on-base home, officials say.

Lt. Col. John Penree died Tuesday at age 61, base spokesman Spencer Layne said Thursday in a report in The Virginian-Pilot. Penree had served as deputy commander at the base since April 2015.

During his 43-year military career, Penree had several assignments with the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, New York, including team chief for stabilization and transition in the division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team, according to his biography.

He deployed several times, including Bosnia in 2000 and 2004, Afghanistan in 2002, 2010 and 2012, and Iraq in 2005-2006.

Commissioned as an ordnance officer, he transferred to the Signal Corps in 1988 while he was serving in the Army National Guard. He rejoined active duty in 1999.

“Lt. Col. Penree was an exceptional officer, a friend, a father, a husband and a man of faith,” base commander Navy Capt. Joey Frantzen said in a statement. “He represented the heart and soul of our Army Component here at the Joint Base, whose breadth of experience, knowledge and personal demeanor truly elevated the professionalism in all of us. He will be greatly missed, but never forgotten.”

No foul play was suspected in his death, Layne said in the news report.

A memorial service is planned for next week at the base, he said.

Penree is survived by his wife and six children.

Kathleen Curthoys is editor of Army Times. She has been an editor at Military Times for 20 years, covering issues that affect service members. She previously worked as an editor and staff writer at newspapers in Columbus, Georgia; Huntsville, Alabama; Bloomington, Indiana; Monterey, California and in Germany.

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