Donald Neil Gillis, a resident of Ridgefield, Washington, died at home Tuesday, June 12, 2018. Don and his wife had retired to the area in 2009 and enjoyed its scenic beauty.
Don was born in Rumford, Maine, in 1929 to John A. Gillis and Emelia Marie Carrier. Following his graduation from Stephens High School, he served in the Maine State Guard for 18 months and was stationed in Korea. He attended the Boston School of Optometry and relocated to southern California upon completing his studies.
Don married Bar Dee Armstrong in 1958. They enjoyed careers in the trucking industry and real estate while raising three children and spending countless hours in home improvements. Don was a life-long lover of jazz, played the piano, frequented jazz clubs, and cultivated an outstanding recording collection. His friendship with jazz pianist and composer Shelley Berg and wife Julia brought him much joy later in life. Don was a skilled carpenter and excelled at restoring antique furniture as well as creating his own pieces. He was a devoted fan of baseball and would attend little league, high school, college, or professional games. He was especially fond of the California Angels and watching his grown sons play in and umpire community leagues.
Don was preceded in death by his parents; an infant brother, Vincent Paul Gillis; two sisters, Jacqueline Gillis Gauthier and Collette Gillis Rossi; and younger brother, Richard C. Gillis. He is survived by his sister Emelia M. Gillis Scott; his wife Bar Dee of 60 years; three children Kirk M. Gillis (Bobbi Brugger), Kent J. Gillis, and Kari L. Gillis Roueche (Peter); six grandchildren Beau Boekhout, Rachel Henrichs, Jessica Gillis, Taylor Gillis, Kaitlyn Gillis, and Anna Schwalm; and three great grandchildren.
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