Ralph Herbert Gillam, age 86, of Oscoda, formerly of New Smyrna Beach, Fla., passed away Friday, March 29, 2013.
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He was born on Oct. 24, 1926 in Flint to Lewis H. Gillam and Marguerite Roat Gillam. He spent his early years in Flint and attended high school in Petoskey and New Smyrna Beach, Fla. During his school years, he was active in the church, scouting, school and city band and camp counselor, track, debate and the school newspaper.
He enlisted in the Naval Air Corps and was discharged in 1946. After discharge, he attended Kalamazoo College. While there, he met his future wife, Mary. They were married in Sept. 11, 1949 following both of their graduations. He then attended Michigan State University and graduated in 1951 with a degree in hospitality.
He and his wife had four daughters and resided in various communities in Michigan where he continued to be an active participant in local service organizations. He and his wife moved to Florida and continued to work there until their retirement in 1991. Following retirement, they traveled extensively to all states and provinces as well as the Holy Land and the British Isles. He continued his interest in service organizations and was active in Sea Turtle preservation. He also parked cars for the church and was a major presence in the tutoring program at the local Boys and Girls Club. He always had a soft spot for animals and enjoyed feeding the birds and squirrels and loved nature in general.
He is survived by four daughters, Linda (Dave) Ostrander of Oscoda, Janet Geismar of Greensboro, N.C., Debra (Tim) Hoffman of Bossier City, La. and Cheryl Woolley of Robesonia, Pa.; as well as a sister, Suzanne Gillam of Hawaii; eight grandchildren and one great granddaughter. He was preceded in death by his wife of 63 years, Mary; as well as a son–in-law, Jeffrey Woolley.
Per his wishes, cremation has taken place and a memorial service will be held in Florida at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Iosco County Humane Society, 3881 W M-55, Tawas City, MI 48763 or the Boys and Girls Club, 813 Mary Street, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168. Condolences may sent to www.bureshfuneralhomes.com.
Published in Iosco County News-Herald from Apr. 1 to Apr. 9, 2013