ODESSA Charles Randolph Gillespie, 81, of Odessa, died on Tuesday, May 20, 2014.
He was born in Goldsmith, Texas in 1933. He was the oldest of three brothers born to Randoph Gillespie and Ozell Masters Gillespie. Randolph was a cowboy, school bus driver and the Justice Of The Peace in the small oilpatch town west of Odessa. After Randolph's early death – due to complications derived from a mule kick to the kidneys – the young brothers were raised solely by their mother, Ozell, a long-time clerk at the Ector County Courthouse.
Charles attended Odessa High School, The University of Texas
at El Paso, Texas Tech, and received his degree from The University of Memphis. He was discharged from the Marine Corps Reserves after injuries sustained in an automobile accident.
He was a journalist
. He wrote a sports column for the Memphis Commercial Appeal and contributed to Sports Illustrated Magazine and other periodicals. He was a founding editor of Memphis Magazine. He then pursued a career as a novelist and freelance writer. Success with his creative fiction proved elusive, though two novels were published and an original screenplay was committed to celluloid. For many years he drove a taxicab in Florida. Throughout his adult life his thoughts, actions and expenditures were documented in journals he maintained until his faulting heart thwarted further entries.
He was by nature and vocation an observer rather than a direct participant. He was not a joiner. He belonged to no church, sporting club, or civic organization, though he was not anti-social. His wit and his facility with a humorous anecdote were appreciated by most – though not all – and he was devoted with a blood allegiance to one community; Odessa and West Texas. In his view; the region and its history, character and color did not compose the remote and severe outback often depicted but were the center of the world and weighed just as significantly as the contributions of Paris, New York and Beijing. He did though, being a Texan, place predicable emphasis on football lore and kept a personal archive of significant and insignificant state and regional games and athletes.
He was broadly curious, introspective and detached in a vaguely Eastern way. His barely decipherable chicken scrawled penmanship appears like some Martian Sanskrit of his own invention. A discipline he perfected. His tastes and political sensibilities were most at ease in The Beat Era. An agnostic, his vision of heaven may have been an infinite library lined with floor to ceiling shelves and an eternity to peruse the volumes.
He is survived by his wife, Addie Lee Burroughs Gillespie, of Odessa; daughters; Noel Francisco of Odessa; Gretchen DeMase of Imperial; son, Beau Gillespie of Dublin, New Hampshire; five grandchildren; Richard McKenzie of Dallas; Cain Gillespie of Marlborough, New Hampshire; Gillian DeMase of Los Angeles, California; William DeMase of Los Angeles; Joseph Francisco, of Imperial, Texas; brothers Milton Gillespie of Kingwood, Texas