Robert "Bob" Brendan Gill
Robert "Bob" Gill passed away peacefully at home on Monday, June 8, after a brief illness. He was born in the Bronx, New York on May 26th, 1938 to Mary Spain and Frank Gill, both immigrants from Nenagh, County Tipperary, Ireland. A mischievous child from early on, Bob always liked to say he'd nearly driven his dear Mother to an early grave—and that he'd had Last Rights performed 5 times before he graduated high school. It's probably a miracle that he was with us for so long! He was sent to the nuns for schooling, but even that didn't tame his precocious spirit.
Being born right at the dawn of WWII had a lifelong effect on Bob. He often spoke of one of his first memories—delivering bacon grease to a corner drop where it was being collected to help the war effort. This started an enduring interest in the military and military history. He lied about his age to join the National Guard when he was 16; then on his 18th birthday he enlisted in the United States Marine Corp. He retired from active duty in 1961 but remained with the USMC Reserves until he ultimately retired at the rank of Major in 1992. He loved the Marines and spent much of his life studying, collecting and writing about their history. It was truly one of his life's great passions. He met many wonderful people and traveled all over the world while pursuing this lifelong love of collecting, cataloguing and writing about the people and stories that captivated him throughout his life.
In 1962 he married the person he called 'the most beautiful woman in the Bronx", Ann McDermott, who he always said was way above his pay grade. They had 3 daughters together and divorced in 1977.
In 1967 the family made the move to Houston when his long-time employer, Texaco, Inc. moved their corporate headquarters from Manhattan to Houston. Bob spent the next 50-plus years as a proud citizen of his adopted state of Texas (even though he never totally lost his Bronx accent). He stayed at Texaco until he took early retirement in 1993. He was elated to be a RETIRED company man - never again having to put on a suit and tie to go to the office was something he celebrated for years.
In 1987 he met the love of his life, Irma Bondy, and the two were married in 1989. Irma was the light of his life—she was the perfect compliment to his personality. They travelled extensively and enjoyed entertaining family and friends from all over. During this time they saw the birth of 6 grandchildren. Bob and Irma absolutely loved their lives together! He was heartbroken when she passed suddenly in 2002. Bob stayed in Houston for another few years, but his heart was no longer there. In 2010, he decided to move to North Texas to be closer to family and settled in Hurst, just a few miles from his daughter Barbara and her family as well as his ex-wife, Ann and her husband, Ben. And just like that, a uniquely blended family came together. Bob really thought this move to N. Texas was one of the best decisions he ever made. In the past few years, he spent his time volunteering and being a docent at the Military Museum of Fort Worth, where he met a whole new group of dear friends.
One of his last, great trips was a visit to Ireland in the spring of 2017 to reconnect with his Irish family and commemorate the 100th anniversary of the death of his uncle, Noel Brendan Gill. Noel died fighting for the British at the Battle of Aras in France during WWI and his body was never recovered. To honor Noel, the Gill family gathered to lay a wreath in his memory. It was an amazing week of family and history shared with many Gill and Spain family members that Bob hadn't seen in years. He was so happy to have made the important trip and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
Bob is survived by his daughters, Marianne Gill of Maui, HI, Eileen Gill and husband Kevin Pruitt of Austin, TX, Barbara Avezzano and husband Michael of Keller TX, step daughter Heather McBride and husband Alan of Leeds, MA and grandchildren Jack and Ryan Avezzano, Jordan Gill-Donahoe, Aiofe, Liam and Brendan McBride. He was preceded in death by his wife Irma Bondy-Gill, mother, Mary Spain, Father, Frank Gill and Sister, Ann Gill.
Bob will be interred at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery.
The family plans to have a celebration of his life once it is safe to gather.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll keep you informed on upcoming plans.
In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made in his name to the Military Museum of Fort Worth www.militarymuseumfortworth.org