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Gerald Christopher Gillis


Gerald Christopher Gillis

Gillis, Gerald Christopher - Age 90 years of Aberdeen, Cape Breton, passed away peacefully on Friday, May 24th, 2019 in Alderwood Rest Home, Baddeck.  Born on November 2, 1928 in Ashfield, Cape Breton he was a son of the late Donald and Christy (Ferguson) Gillis. 

From an early age hard work was important in his everyday life; helping on the family farm, alongside his father learning the blacksmith trade, working in the logging industry and driving a truck for highway projects. At the age of 20 he ventured to Toronto on the train from Orangedale and completed a Certificate in welding which led him to a career with Little Narrows Gypsum. During his 37 years there he taught First Aid, took the lead on their Safety Programs, and worked his way up to the position of Quarry General Foreman at the time of his retirement. The company achieved the Top Award for Safety many times while he was there of which he was very proud. Following retirement he enjoyed doing landscaping with his dozer, working in his garage painting cars, helping family with various projects and being an active community volunteer.

Gerald was a long standing member and elder of Little Narrows Presbyterian Church holding the Clerk of Session position for over 25 years. He and his wife Jessie were very committed to their church family and worked together on several committees and fundraising events for many years. Gerald was a member of the Causeway Shriners and Sircom Lodge 66 for over 50 years. He was a recipient of the Masonic Order of Meritorious Service given for outstanding service, dedication and achievement. He was also a member of Celtic Star Chapter #19 OES (formerly Dr. Gordon MacLeod Chapter #37) with whom he received his 50 year jewel. Gerald was a humble man of great integrity, purpose and faith, finding great comfort in prayer even in his last hours. He loved people and always wanted them to feel important in his presence, often being amazed that people took time out of their lives to check on him, visit and call. Life to him mattered deeply and despite his failing health in recent years, he continued to approach it with optimism. Celebrating his 90th birthday last fall was a treasured milestone for him, only achieved due to his spirit. He was forever thankful for the many blessings of love and care he received from his family, friends, neighbours, community at large and care providers, never taking his gift of life for granted. Gerald celebrated 55 years of marriage with his wife, Jessie before her passing in 2010. They were an example of genuine partnership and commitment to their family who recognized how incredibly blessed they were to have had them as parents and grandparents.  

He is survived by children, Brian (Louise), New Glasgow; Kerry (Sandra), Fletchers Lake; Geraldine (Gary) MacKenzie, Aberdeen; Sally (William) Mac Lean, Fall River; grandchildren, Natalie (Tyler) Ross, Ashley (James) Rathbun, Erin (Brent Turnbull) Gillis, Jennifer (Bryan) Hickman, Justin Gillis, Steven Gillis, Christy MacKenzie , Garrett MacKenzie, Erica (Luca Muratori) MacLean, Colin MacLean; sister, Eleanor MacDonald, several nieces and nephews,  brother-in-law, Norman (Kay) Beeson, sisters-in-law, Anna Gillis and Bernice Beeson.  Besides his parents and wife, Gerald was predeceased by his son, Robert in infancy; brother, Neil; in-laws, Arthur and Sadie Beeson; brothers-in-law, Duncan MacLeod, John MacDonald, Dan Hughie Beeson, Peter Beeson, Murdoch Gillis; sister-in-law, Sadie Beeson; niece, Cheryl Gillis and nephew, Robbie MacLeod.

Visitation will be held 2-9 p.m. Tuesday, May 28 in Dennis Haverstock Funeral Chapel, Whycocomagh where an Eastern Star Service will be held at 7 p.m.  Funeral service will be held 11a.m. Wednesday, May 29 in Little Narrows Presbyterian Church with Rev. Peter MacDonald and Rev. Lydia MacKinnon officiating. Burial in Gillis Cove Cemetery. Family flowers only, please. Memorial donations may be made to Little Narrows Presbyterian Church or Gillis Cove Cemetery.

A special thank you to the staff at Alderwood Rest Home and Dr. Genge for their incredible care and support. Words of comfort may be forwarded to the family at

Service Date
Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Service Time
11 a.m.
Service Location
Little Narrows Presbyterian Church, Little Narrows

Tuesday, May 28, 2019
Visitation Time
2-9 p.m.
Visitation Location
Dennis Haverstock Funeral Chapel, Whycocomagh

Burial Date
Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Burial Time
Following the funeral service
Burial Location
Gillis Cove Cemetery

Requested Charity
Little Narrows Presbyterian Church or Gillis Cove Cemetery