George S. Gilliland
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July 2, 2011
Devoted husband, father and grandfather.
George S. Gilliland, a former aerospace industry executive, amateur genealogist, and father of three, died July 2, 2011 at Gulf Coast Hospital of complications related to heart surgery. He was 71.
Born in New York City in 1939 to Irish immigrant parents, George enrolled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1957 at the age of 16 to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering.
Following graduation, George spent the next 22 years at the Kollsman Instruments of Syosset, NY and Merrimack, NH where he led the development of electro-optical missile guidance systems and navigation systems for manned spacecraft. One of the instruments George assisted in developing, an altimeter for the Apollo space program, is currently on display at the Smithsonian Institution's Air and Space Museum in Washington DC. During his time at Kollsman, George met and married Kathleen Stanley, who was also employed by the firm.
After leaving Kollsman in 1983, George served as Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Gull Electronic Systems (later Parker-Hannifin), an industry leader in the design and manufacture of fluid measurement systems, microprocessor-based control systems and advance cockpit displays.
George was eventually hired as chief operating officer by Shaw Aero Devices, in part to consolidate the firm's Long Island operations with a division in Naples, Florida. He retired from Shaw in 1996.
After his retirement, George remained active in the life of the community in southwest Florida. He served on the finance committee of First Presbyterian Church of Bonita Springs, and spent six years on the board of directors of the Speaker's Assembly of Southwest Florida. He also served for many years as the as president of the Pelican Landing Community Association. George also became immersed in genealogical research resulting in many research trips throughout the US and Ireland.
George is survived by his wife of 43 years, Kathleen, and their children Eric, Kari and Michael, and three grandchildren, Baylor, Mia and Scout.
A memorial service will be held at 2:00pm on Thursday, July 7th, 2011 at the First Presbyterian Church of Bonita Springs, located at 9751 Bonita Beach Road Southeast in Bonita Springs, FL. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the First Presbyterian Church of Bonita Springs.
Published in The News-Press on July 6, 2011