Herman was born in Danville, Illinois to Herman H. and Margaretha Gilster. A 1953 graduate of West Point, Herman cross-commissioned to the Air Force. His first assignment following pilot training was flying B17s at Eglin AFB, FL. In 1955, he was selected to be an Air Force Academy (USAFA) Air Training Officer (ATO). During this tour, he met and married Helen Jones. In January 1958, Herman moved to March AFB, CA, to fly the B47 with a follow-on tour to Dyess AFB, Texas. In 1963, Herman returned to the USAFA to teach Economics. One year later, he was selected to attend Harvard University, pursuing a PhD in Economics. Upon completion, Herman again returned to USAFA to teach. In 1969, Herman was deployed to Vietnam. After completing his tour in 1970, he again returned to the Air Force Academy to teach. In 1971 Herman was transferred to Hickam AFB to serve at HQ Pacific AF. In 1973, Herman took his final AF assignment at the Pentagon in support of the Secretary of Defense as a Strategic Analyst. Retiring from the AF in 1979, Herman moved to Seattle, WA, to work for Boeing. In 1986, he and Helen returned to the city they loved at the foothills of the Rockies. Throughout his life, Herman's love of the Air Force and serving his country never wavered. Once back in Colorado, he volunteered his time with Sertoma, the Church at Woodmoor, the USAFA Association of Graduates, and the ATOs, serving many in various capacities. Herman is survived by his wife of 55 years, Helen (Jones) Gilster; daughter, Dawn Rittenhouse of Wilmington, DE; son, H. Louis Gilster of Monument, CO; son, Col Thomas Gilster of O'Fallon, IL; and seven grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations in memory of Herman Gilster to either the USAFA Endowment, 3116 Academy Drive, Suite 200, USAF Academy, CO, 80840-4475; or Gleneagle Sertoma of Colorado Springs, PO Box 3171, Monument, CO 80132. A Memorial Service for Herman will be held Monday, July 15, at 10:30 at the Pavillion at the USAFA Cemetery, with a reception following.
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Published in The Gazette on July 7, 2013