BANGOR - Roger Gillis, 83, passed on 1 January, 2019, in his home in Bangor, surrounded by his children and his wife of 63 years.
Roger was born 14 March, 1935, in Brewer to Angus and Avis (née Dow) Gillis. Following his father’s death, he was raised by his uncle and aunt, Malcolm and Gertrude Gillis.
A 1953 graduate of Bangor High School, Roger went on to the University of Maine, receiving a bachelors degree with high honors in education in 1960 and a masters in education in 1965.
Roger married his high school sweetheart, Joyce Morrison on 9 November 1955, just after Roger completed the Aviation Cadet program and received his Observer Wings.
In January 1953, Roger joined the Maine Air National Guard as an aircraft mechanic. He graduated Aviation Cadets, Class 55-18, on 9 November, 1955, as a Second Lieutenant, radar observer. From 1955 to 1976 he flew as an observer and later as a weapon system officer in the F-94, F-89 and F-101B Fighter Interceptor aircraft as part of Air Defense Command. His family watched proudly on 1 May 1979, as he became the Squadron Commander for the 132nd Air Refueling Squadron in the Maine Air National Guard (MeANG). In November, 1980, he was assigned to the Headquarters MeANG as the Director of Operations, before being promoted to Colonel in June, 1981.
Roger retired in June 1986, concluding a distinguished 33-year career of Guard service.
In addition, Roger taught with the Bangor school system, elementary to high school, from 1961 to 1993.
Roger was a unique and conscientious man. A Mason raised in the St. Andrews Lodge #83 AF & AM of Bangor, he was a member of the Scottish Rite Bodies and Anah Shriners.
Roger was a founding member of the Bangor School system’s Credit Union, BANSCO, serving as a board member and President for five years. He was a Boy Scout merit badge councilor, an avid shooter, and a well known lover of dogs. Roger loved fishing, hunting, and especially his trips to Alaska and Labrador.
He deeply loved his family, including his extended canine family. Roger often said his favorite days were those in which he got to see all his children.
Among many family members, former students, colleagues, and friends, Roger will be particularly missed by his wife, Joyce; daughter Chris Gillis, her partner James Jazwa, children Max and Hanna; daughter Karen Godin, her husband David, children Brennan, and Cullen, Cullen’s fiancé Ashley Deluck, and Roger’s great grandson Owen Roger Gillis; son Ian Gillis, his wife Marcia, children Valery, Mackenzie, and Delainy; Roger’s nephew Roy Tripp, his wife Liz, son Preston; special niece Joyce Welty, her son Chris and his wife Wendy. As well as members of his extended family outside of Maine.
He was predeceased by his parents, his Aunt Gertie and Uncle Mac, his brothers Paul, Ronald, and Roderic.
His family would like to thank Melissa, Kurt, Carissa, Allen, and Anne from Northern Light Home Health and Hospice.
Memorial services with military honors will be held 11 am Saturday January 26, 2019 at Brookings-Smith, 133 Center St, Bangor. The family invites relatives and friends to share conversation and refreshments at the Family Reception Center of Brooking-Smith, 163 Center Street, Bangor immediately following the services Saturday. Those who wish to honor Col. Roger D. Gillis in a special way may make gifts in his memory to one of his two favorite charities: Downeast Equine and Large Animal Society – P.O. Box 485, Cherryfield ME 04622 or MAINEiac Charities – C/O Bob Boulier, 41 17th St, Bangor ME 04401. Condolences to the family may be expressed at www.BrookingsSmith.com.