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Marvin Gillis

1920 - 2013 | Obituary Condolences
Marvin Gillis Obituary
Marvin Bob Gillis, 93, longtime resident of Glenview Illinois died on December 28, 2013. He was born in Treutlen County Georgia to Bobby Lee and Pearl Gillis on April 5, 1920. He graduated from the University of Georgia in 1940 and was offered a fellowship at Cornell University to study biochemistry, physiology and organic chemistry. While a graduate student at Cornell, he met the love of his life and his wife of 67 years, Helen Reed. After two years of graduate work, World War II intervened and he withdrew to enlist in the U.S. Army. He had several short term assignments with the Amphibious Engineers, the Army Medical School and the Ski Troops in Colorado before requesting a transfer to the Army Air Forces for flight training. Subsequently, he served as an Aerial Navigator and also as a Bombardier flying the B-29. He was stationed on Saipan and completed thirty combat missions. He was twice awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and received four citations for the Air Medal. He returned to Saipan in 1982, where he funded and arranged the construction of a memorial commemorating the 73rd Bombardment Wing. When the war ended, he returned to Cornell where he married Helen and received the Ph.D. degree in 1947. He was the author of over 30 scientific papers, and a member of a number of honorary societies and scientific organizations, including the National Academy of Sciences -NRC, for which he served two terms as President. After graduation from Cornell, he joined International Minerals and Chemical Corporation (IMC) as a senior research chemist and moved his young family to Glenview. He spent the next 35 years with IMC, eventually transferring from research to management. His job took him all over the world, including a year and a half in Paris. He retired from IMC in 1982 as Senior Vice President. Following retirement, he continued consulting for a number of years. In retirement, he and Helen divided their time between Glenview and their home on St. Simons Island, Georgia. He was the author of two books, Gillis and Other Pioneer Families of Georgia, 1988; 2000 and My Brush With Life and History, 1993, an autobiographical memoir. He is survived by his wife, Helen Reed Gillis; his children, Margaret (Tom Moss), Marvin (Georganne), and Kenneth (Ann); six grandchildren , Reed Gillis (Janet), Robert Gillis (Sarah), Stephanie Whitman (Ryan), Courtney Moss, Elizabeth Gillis and John Gillis; and 3 great-grandchildren, Chloe, Laney and Finlay. He was preceded in death by his parents and his two brothers, Leroy and Willie. A celebration of his life will be held at the First Baptist Church of Soperton with internment in the Gillis family cemetery in Treutlen County Georgia. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Marvin B. Gillis and Helen R. Gillis Scholarship Fund at the University of Georgia Foundation or the .
Published in a Chicago Tribune Media Group Publication on Jan. 12, 2014
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