Harry Gillespie

Obituary
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Gillespie, Harry Robinson
May 24, 1922 - February 9, 2013
Business executive, engineer, professor, writer, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, Dr. Harry Robinson Gillespie died on February 9, 2013 at the age of 90. He was born in Chicago, Illinois to Margaret Weisskirchen Gillespie and Harry Robinson Gillespie, Sr. He met his future wife, Shirley Hodek, in the eighth grade at the Riverside Grammar School in Riverside, Illinois. Due to World War II, Harry graduated early from the Illinois Institute of Technology, with a bachelors of science degree in mechanical/aeronautical engineering in February, 1944. He and Shirley were married at the Riverside Presbyterian Church on June 21, 1944, and shortly thereafter he joined the Navy. He was proud of the book that he wrote on mathematics for the Navy and of the work that he did as part of the team tasked with solving the design problems of the F4U Corsair aircraft. It was in large part due to the work of this team that the Corsair became the most efficient aircraft of the war, and led to our country's domination in the air in the Pacific Theater. While in the service, Harry and Shirley lived in Hartford, Connecticut and in Corpus Christi, Texas. After the service, Harry joined Cinch Manufacturing Company in Chicago and was shortly tapped to head up the company's new southern California office. He moved his family to Pasadena in 1955, and they established their home on Inverness Drive in Linda Vista. Both Harry and Shirley were active in many community organizations and activities, and they formed life-long friendships with their Linda Vista and La Canada neighbors, including the Hatches, Detoys, Nelsons, Allens, Kennedys, Glasses and Parrishes. Thereafter, Harry accepted leadership positions in other manufacturing and furniture-making corporations, which led to their moves to San Clemente for several years and to La Jolla for more than twenty years. He was a life-long academician, earning a masters in business administration from Pepperdine University in 1975 and a doctorate in business administration from United States International University in 1980. He taught strategic planning and leadership strategies at several universities in the San Diego area. Later in life, he enjoyed writing mystery and science fiction novels which were published. He also wrote a book about his work with the Corsair, which is being submitted for publication. To the end, he enjoyed the companionship of his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He delighted in the fishing and camping trips he took with his son Andrew in the last several years. Dr. Gillespie was preceded in death by his wife Shirley. He is survived by sons Andrew Scott Gillespie and Douglas Robinson Gillespie (Cynthia), daughter Anne Gillespie Brown, grandchildren Kristin Gillespie Mahoney (Hugh), Erik Robinson Gillespie (Allison), Andrew Edward Gillespie(friend Julie), and great-grandchildren Ava, Georgia, and Grant Mahoney.
Services are pending. Contributions in his memory may be made to the or the Illinois Institute of Technology, 39987 Treasury Center, Chicago, Illinois 60694 for scholarships for mechanical engineering students, with a notation in the memo line for the Harry R. Gillespie Memorial. You can also make your gift online at give.iit.edu/tribute, with a mention of his name in the "Tribute" section.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Feb. 24, 2013
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