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Lawrence "Gus" Gillis

BANGOR and BAILEYVILLE - Lawrence "Gus" Beverly Gillis, 87, passed away Tuesday, July 16, 2013, at a Bangor health care facility. He was born May 15, 1926, in Oakland, to the late Grace Eloise (Sidelinger) (Gillis) Chapman and Jack Gillis.

He attended Calais Academy, and graduated in June 1943. Lawrence "Gus" served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, enlisting when he reached the minimum age of 17 years old. He was initially in the Naval Air Cadet program at Dartmouth College. He served aboard the USS Sangamon, CVE-26, when it was struck by a Japanese kamikaze attack May 4, 1945. He also was part of the initial crew and maiden voyage of the USS Midway, CVB-41. June 19, 1948, he married Nora Marie Latter of Liscomb Mills, Nova Scotia, at St. Anne's Episcopal Church, Calais. Nora and Gus lived in Baileyville, Woodland, where Gus worked at St. Croix Paper Company, purchased to become Georgia Pacific. He retired after 44 years in 1991, as the maintenance supervisor in the GP Woods Division in Princeton. Gus served on the Baileyville Fire Department for 52 years and retired in 2006 as the Baileyville fire chief. He had also served on the Baileyville school board multiple times, the Baileyville planning board, the Baileyville school trustees, and various other town committees throughout his life. He was a member of Anah Shriners, St.Croix Masonic Lodge No. 46, and American Legion W. T. Wren Post. Gus and Nora were members of St Anne's Episcopal Church, Calais. Gus will be especially remembered for his love of flying. He grew up in an age when flying and air travel was being pioneered. He started as a boy building gas-powered model airplanes. He had owned several aircrafts and survived a plane crash due to engine problems in 1964. He was most proud of his Cessna 172 Skyhawk. Gus was a certified flight instructor and taught several local people to fly. Throughout his life, Gus enjoyed playing the trumpet and used to play with the Calais City Band, performing concerts in the Calais City Park in the years after World War II. His Gus Gillis Orchestra dance band performed in the late 1950s and early 1960s before guitars dominated most musical groups. Gillis Radio and TV Repair Service operated in the early 1960s during a time when electronics weren't disposable, but would be repaired. Gus was especially proud and never shy of bragging about his family.

Survivors include his wife of 65 years, Nora Marie (Latter) of Bangor and Baileyville; son, Russell Gillis and wife, Isibelita, of Vicksburg, Mich.; daughter, Beverly Greene and husband, Arthur, of Scarborough; daughter, Cynthia Brown and husband, Maurice, of Bangor; daughter, Alane Gayton and husband, Richard, of Baileyville; son, Earle Gillis and wife, Lisa, of Corning, N.Y.; grandchildren, Jennifer Lauer and husband, Damian, Allan Gillis and wife, Carol, Vanessa Fernandez Greene and husband, Juan, Meridith Greene and husband, Eben, Leslie Brown, Christopher Gillis, Keely Leonard and husband, Dale, Julia Gillis, and Shawn Gillis; stepgrandsons, Nicholas Brown I and wife, Barbara, and Christopher Bowker and wife, Mariah; and 10 great-grandchildren, Savanna Gillis, Kaitlyn Lauer, Julian Peterson, Elías Fernandez Greene, Sabela Fernandez Greene, Gabriella Brown, Nicholas Brown II, Hannah Bowker, Andrew Bowker and William Bowker. Gus was predeceased by his father, Jack, in 1931; stepfather, Clarence, in 1934; and mother, Grace, in 1982. A special thanks to the staff of Maine Veterans' Home, Bangor, for their very caring help and support.

Relatives and friends are welcome to attend a memorial service to be held 2 p.m. Thursday, July 25, at St. Anne's Episcopal Church, 29 Church St., Calais. Services are through Mays Funeral Home, Calais and Eastport. Private interment will be in the family plot at Pine Grove Cemetery, Sennebec Road, Appleton. Contributions in Gus' memory are welcome at Shriners Hospital for Children, 51 Blossom St., Boston, MA 02114. Condolences and memories may be shared at www.maysfuneralhome.com.

Published in BDN Maine on July 18, 2013
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