Fond du Lac - Thomas Edward Gilles, 93, a resident of Fond du Lac, passed away April 11, 2020 at the St. Francis Home, Fond du Lac. He was born in Milwaukee on June 28, 1926 to Christian and Cecelia (Walloch) Gilles.
Tom grew up in Wauwatosa. He began working for his brother, Paul, at Gilles Frozen Custard in Milwaukee in 1938 at the age of 12. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1944 to 1946.
In 1949, Tom moved to Fond du Lac to follow his dream of owning his own business and founded Gilles Frozen Custard Drive-In. On February 18, 1950, he married Doris Marie Curler in Milwaukee, WI. Together Tom and Doris built Gilles Frozen Custard Drive-In into one of Fond du Lac's iconic destinations.
Tom retired in 1992 and his son, Jim, continued operating the family business. In Tom's retirement, he learned a new hobby and carved wood into beautiful pieces of art, including a 15-foot totem pole. Tom enjoyed golf and being outdoors - especially when he was at his cottage. Above all else, Tom loved being with his family and spending time with them.
Although many will remember Tom for his frozen custard, his children will be forever grateful for the strong work ethic and unwavering faith he instilled within them.
Survivors include: two sons, John (Jan) Gilles of Green Bay, Jim (Gwen) Gilles; three daughters, Mary (Greg) Guenther, Joanne (Bill) Theyerl and Christine (Chris) Holmes all of Fond du Lac; five grandchildren, Angie (Aaron) Roden, Ryan (Katie) Gilles, Molly Gilles, Nicholas and Jacob Holmes; two step-grandchildren, Julie (Aaron) Bray and Tyler Theyerl; five great-grandchildren, Henry and George Gilles, Olivia, Abigail and Eli Roden. He is further survived by nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Doris, a brother Paul (Faye) Gilles; two sisters, Mary (Roy) Coldagelli and Margaret (Bob) Marion and his parents.
Memorials in his name may be directed to the Jesuit Retreat House, 4850 Fahrnwald Road, Oshkosh, WI 54902, St. Mary's Springs Academy or a charity of your choice
Private family services are scheduled. The family is planning a Celebration of Tom's life at a future date.
"The family extends their deep appreciation to the staff of St. Francis Terrace and Home for their compassionate care."
Online condolences can be shared at www.zacherlfuneralhome.com