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Donald Gene Gillis

September 20, 1939 ~ August 26, 2021 (age 81)

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Donald Gillis. Age 81 passed suddenly, but peacefully surrounded by family at Glenbrook Hospital on August 26th, 2021.

He grew up in Cayuga, Indiana, which he always referred to as “the garden spot of the world”, a small town of 1000 people. He attended Ball State University and was in the Army Reserves. Don met Pat on a blind date in Chicago, proposed one month later, and married the love of his life six months after. They celebrated over 57 treasured years of marriage.

Don is survived by his cherished wife, Patricia, two children Tracy (Chris) Moag, Todd (Diane) Gillis and six precious grandchildren: Bailey, Natalie, James, Matthew Moag, Genna and Donald Grant Gillis, three sisters-in-law, brother-in-law, and many beloved nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Wayne and Maxine Gillis, in-laws, Harold and Esther Miles and two brothers-in-law.

Don was a true entrepreneur. He started his own manufacturer’s rep business in his dining room with two file cabinets and the laundry room door across the top as his desk. Pat was his secretary and an intricate part of the business for twelve years. His children began assembling catalogs at seven and nine years old and Todd joined him as a partner after college, a true family business which they eventually sold to a Fortune 500 company. For 35 years, Don’s work was his passion.

Don loved people. He was happiest surrounded by people, whether they were CEOs, golf buddies, tennis partners, warehouse workers, truck drivers, bartenders, or waiters. They were all friends.

He was fortunate enough to enjoy life in Northbrook, IL and Bonita Springs, FL. He loved golf, tennis, paddle, and coaching. He served on the Board of Directors for Sunset Ridge Country Club and was also involved in several committees at both Sunset Ridge and the Bonita Bay Club. In retirement, he enjoyed taking his family on cruises and spending his days with grandkids, family, and his rescue dog, Buddy, his constant, furry companion. He was fortunate enough to see the Cubs win the World Series.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the following organizations: LEARN Charter Schools (, Sunset Ridge Scholarship Fund ( or the Liberty Youth Ranch in Bonita Springs, Florida (

Memorial Service will be held on Friday, September 3, 11:00 a.m. at The Village Presbyterian Church, 1300 Shermer Road, Northbrook, IL followed by a Celebration of Life at Sunset Ridge Country Club.


Memorial Service
September 3, 2021

11:00 AM
Village Presbyterian Church (Shermer Road, Northbrook)

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