George Gillis

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George Gillis, age 78 or 79

George Gillis (1920/1 - 2003) was a machinist and social worker who spent his life in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

He lost his sight in the early 1950s. As a young boy, Ronald Currie shined a flashlight into his uncle George's eyes and Gillis reacted, much to the young boy's wonderment.

With his wife Marian he had three sons, Mike, Wayne, and Greg.

They had their 50th wedding anniversary with many family members in September 1996, at Gunn Lake Lodge in Kenora, Ontario.

Career

After graduating from Kelvin High School, Gillis joined the Canadian National Railway (CNR) as a machinist. In 1943 he joined the navy and served on the west and east coasts. After the war he rejoined the railway.

When his sight failed in the early 1950s, he started with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB), where he served for 32 years as a social worker and in other capacities. As of October 1975 he was CNIB administrator for Manitoba's eastern regions. He retired in 1983.

Winnipeg Free Press, 22 October 1975

Obituary

George Gillis passed away suddenly on May 18, 2003 at the Victoria General Hospital. He was 82 years old. George is survived by Marian, his beloved wife of 56 years; sons, Michael, Wayne (Sharon) and Greg (Margaret) granddaughters, Phoenix (Peter), Veronica, Grace, Kathryn and Meagan, and several nieces and nephews. George was born in Winnipeg and after graduating from Kelvin High School joined the C.N.R. as a machinist. In 1943 he joined the navy and served on the west and east coasts. After the war he rejoined the railway but when his sight failed, he started with C.N.I.B. where he served for 32 years as a social worker and in other capacities until his retirement in 1983. He was past president of the Sir Arthur Pearson Association of War Blinded and a long-time member of the Riverside Lions Club, where he served as President and Zone Chairman. George will be remembered for his positive and cheerful attitude and his genuine interest in other people. He was also a talented craftsman and, in spite of his lack of sight, built some beautiful furniture for his home. These will be a constant reminder of a loving husband, father and grandfather. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Alzheimer Manitoba or C.N.I.B., Manitoba Division. A memorial service will be held on Monday, May 26 at 2:00 p.m. at Thomson Funeral Chapel, 669 Broadway.
— Winnipeg Free Press

Sources

Winnipeg Free Press, May 2003

Winnipeg Free Press, 22 October 1975, Page 33

Marilyn Hermiston family photo collection