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William Gillis
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Obituary for William Gillis

Bill passed on July 25 after a long struggle with Lewy Body dementia complicated by an aggressive infection. Bill was born in Spokane WA on Dec. 14, 1938 to Esther and Lester Gillis. He graduated from Lewis and Clark High School then WSU in 1960 with a bachelor degree in mathematics. He worked the next five years for Western Electric as a software analyst and travelling consultant . He then worked 34 more years at Boeing Computer Services, starting as a programmer and then in various management positions, retiring in 1994 at the age of 55. It has been said that upon introducing himself to people early in his career, he would say, ” Hi, I’m Bill Gillis and I have 288 months, 3 weeks and 5 days until I retire.” No one loved retirement as much as Bill.

Bill and wife Rachelle traveled extensively during their marriage. Beginning with back packing in Europe and sleeping on trains to save valuable sightseeing time. Smelling diesel exhaust while having a beer and a bratwurst for breakfast in a German train station to being offered hashish in a dimly lit restaurant in Tangier Morocco (and Yes, he partook) - it was always an adventure.

They saw every major city in most of the world and hundreds of villages, absorbing the various cultures of each country through food and wine and lots and lots of museums and castles. After a few years, traveling by car and staying in hotels became preferable to weary
train travelers. In the early 80’s Bill and Rachelle took their first trip on a cruise ship to the Mexican Riviera. It was an inaugural cruise and two days out the ship broke down and had to limp back to the port of LA, never docking in Mexico. The cruise line offered a generous credit toward a future cruise, and Bill, not being one to pass up on a good discount, signed right up. He was immediately hooked on the luxury of ship activities, fine dining and Broadway type entertainment at the same time visiting world countries from Australia to Asia, Africa to Scandinavia. He and Rachelle ended up taking 43 cruises during their forty four years of marriage.

Bill will always be remembered for his love of life, a party and being a good friend. He will be greatly missed.

Bill is survived by wife Rachelle, daughters Julia Wild and Lauri Baker (Brett), grandsons Nathan, Austin, Carson and Dillon and loving dog of 14 years, Lucy.

A life celebration will be held at the Gillis residence on Wednesday, August 9th. Open house 2:00 - 6:00 pm.

Parking is available at 605 S. 223rd St at Karuna Arts Yoga on the corner across the street. Access to condo is in the alley between 6th Ave at 223rd and Cliff Ave. at the south gate. Signs will be posted.

To send flowers or a remembrance gift to the family of William Gillis, please visit our Tribute Store.

Previous Events

Memorial Service




2:00 PM - 6:00 PM
The Cliffs Condos

22226 Cliff Ave
Des Moines , WA 98198


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