Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Donald A. Gillies (1931-2011) A man who loved all things Scottish and a close friend is dead.

I first met Don Gillies in the fall of 1985. Rev. Arthur T. Guscott brought us together for lunch at the University Club in Chicago. The Scottish Home was seeking to hire an Administrator and I was being interviewed. I suppose his findings were passed along to the search committee and my next interview was with Peter Georgeson and Bob Black at the Scottish Home. I was hired in December of 1985 and reported for work in January, 1986.

Don was a very demanding boss and called almost every day to check on my progress. We developed a strong bond and became close friends. Our last lunch was also at the University Club, but I am not sure of the date. He was struggling with his Parkinsons disease but there was not the slightest verbal hint that anything was wrong. We talked of past days and perhaps both of us understood that this would be our last lunch. We shook hands for a long time and then parted. I will always consider Don Gillies a close, personal friend.  Our Society is much indebted to him for his years of service and his dedication to our work.

His obituary was printed in the Chicago Tribune, August 22,  and a memorial service will be held this Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Lake Street Church, 607 Lake Street, Evanston, IL. If you would like a copy of his obituary, you may call the Society office or email me at He is survived by his wife Judith, a daughter Beth and a sister Jean.

Here are some comments from the obiturary.

Graduate of Denison University and J.D. at Northwestern University
Member of Phi Beta Kappa
Board of Trustees, University of Chicago - 1977 to 1983
Board President of The Baptist Theological Union - 27 years
Vice President and Board of Directors, Baptist Retirement Home
President of the Illinois St. Andrew Society - 1986 to 1988
Member of the Skokie Country Club in Glencoe since 1976
Frequently traveled to Scotland with his wife to play golf
Loved bagpipe music and all things Scottish
Partner with Altheimer & Gray, which he joined in 1961
Counsel with Holland & Knight from 2003 until retirement
Specialized in taxation and estate law.

Wayne Rethford
President Emeritus
Illinois Saint Andrew Society

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