Robert E. Gilmore
1920 - 2020
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Robert E. Gilmore
PEORIA — Robert E. Gilmore passed away peacefully on September 22, 2020. Bob, though quiet and unassuming, was a powerful and positive force in Peoria's community development for nearly fifty years. His thoughtful leadership, perseverance and generosity were without peer and will be sorely missed. His passion for the success of Central Illinois will continue on in the mission of the Gilmore Foundation for decades to come.
He was born in Peoria on May 4, 1920, to Myron E. and Lillian G. Mallm Gilmore. He married Marguerite A. Best on May 1, 1948, and they enjoyed 53 happy years together prior to her death in 2001. In 2005, Bob married Jean Cooley Corcoran who survives him. He is also survived by his daughter, Christine Gilmore Stibolt (Victor D. Stibolt) of Portland, Oregon, and three grandchildren: Joshua D. Stibolt, Alyssa Stibolt Cicero (Dominic Cicero) and Nicholas G. Stibolt (Holly Muir). He was predeceased by his son, Scott E. Gilmore, and granddaughter, Nicole M. Stibolt.
Bob joined Caterpillar Tractor Co. in 1938 as a machinist apprentice prior to working as a gear technician on critical transmissions for military tanks. A World War II veteran and true member of "The Greatest Generation," Bob enlisted in the Army Air Force in 1943 and served as a B-17 combat crew navigator flying 36 missions in the European theater.
Upon his return from service in 1946, Bob was given multiple assignments in Caterpillar's manufacturing operations before becoming President of Caterpillar France, S.A. in Grenoble, France. While in France he was active in multiple business and educational associations, and was listed in "Who's Who in France." Bob returned to Peoria from France in 1968 and remained with Caterpillar until his retirement from operations in 1985 as President and Chief Operating Officer. He served as a Director of the company for 20 years, retiring from the Board of Directors in 1993 after more than 50 years of service to CAT.
In addition to serving on Caterpillar's Board of Directors, Bob was a Director of T.P.&W. Railroad/Santa Fe Pacific Corporation, Security Savings & Loan, and Santa Fe Pipeline, Inc. He was chairman of The Peoria Area Hospital Council, a charter member of the Economic Development Council for the Peoria Area, Chairman of The Board of Governors for Peoria's year-long Tricentennial Celebration, a Fellow of the Society of Manufacturing Engineering, and a founding director of the S.M.E. Educational Foundation. Despite never attending college, he was awarded a Doctorate of Laws from Bradley University and in 2016 was awarded the Order of Lincoln Award, the state's highest honor for professional achievement. Bob also served as a director of The Peoria Historical Society and the Peoria Downtown Rotary Club. He was a member of The Country Club of Peoria, and the Rice Pond Preserve Duck Club.
Private funeral services will be held in Peoria, Illinois. Davison-Fulton Woolsey-Wilton Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Children's Home Association of Illinois or Neighborhood House.
You may view Bob's obituary online at

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Published in Peoria Journal Star from Sep. 24 to Sep. 26, 2020.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by Davison-Fulton-Woolsey-Wilton Funeral Home
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6 entries
September 30, 2020
To Bob’s Family,

I am sad to read of Bob’s passing. I started at the Caterpillar Tractor Company on June 24, 1963 as an Electrical Engineer for the Research Department. In 1978, I was in the Plant Engineering Department at the Basic Engine Plant in Mossville, IL. My primary job was to support the diesel engine test cells. I needed the Plant Managers approval for material urgently in need for a project. I was explaining to need to John Gilbert when Bob Gilmore entered his office. I told John that I would come back. Bob said “No, please finish your business. I have time.” After John gave his approval, Bob talked to me about the project and my background. He personified the main reason I selected Caterpillar for my career, that Caterpillar was human oriented!

I hope your many happy memories will help you get through this most difficult time. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
With Deepest Sympathy,
Ed Johnson (Cat MEC Retired)
Peoria, IL.
Edward L Johnson
September 30, 2020
May God bless you and your family. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Lee Shaw Jr
September 26, 2020
Mr Gilmore was man of integrity and compassion. I truly enjoyed seeing him come into the Children’s Home to visit with a smile. As being the agency phone operator for 25 years, it was a delight when he would call in and I recognized his voice. We would have a small chat before I transferred his call. One year at the annual gala for the agency, it was a pleasure to sit with him and Marguerite at the table. My husband, Doug, and Mr Gilmore had quite the conversation about stories of the Caboose at Scott’s Prairie that he donated to the agency for the children to enjoy. Mr Gilmore, you will be missed and I will always treasure that smile when you entered a room. Thank you for all did for Children’s Home and the community.
Angie Shull
Retired Agency Phone Opr
for The Children’s Home
Angie Shull
September 25, 2020
Bob was my next door neighbor for many years.We spent many Sunday afternoons helping each other with yard projects.When Bob would travel abroad he would always bring my children a gift from where he had been. A wonderful neighbor, a fine gentleman who taught me much....
With Respect ....... Joel Schwartz
Joel Schwartz
September 25, 2020
My father, David Lewis, worked at Caterpillar his whole career. There was no one he admired and respected more than Bob. Toward the end of his life he moved to Lutheran Hillside Village and spent several weeks in the nursing care unit. Bob came and visited him one day and they talked for hours. That visit meant so much to my father. Bob was truly a gentleman and influenced so many people.
Barb Getz
September 25, 2020
My father Jim Gilmore first met Bob at Caterpillar in East Peoria in the early 50's. My dad who had a brother named Bob would always joke about them being related, especially after Bob became president. My dad said no matter how far up the latter Bob went he was the same guy. He always spoke to everyone whether you swept floors or ran the company. I had the opportunity to meet Bob a few times and joke about him and my dad. I would call him "Uncle Bob!" The last time I spoke to him was at Lutheran Hillside Village a few years back. I told him it was great having the Gilmore name while working at Caterpillar. Every time some foreman would find out my last name I would get coffee bought for me from then on! Caterpillar was never a better place to work than when Bob ran the company. He was well liked, very respected and a man who cared for all his fellow employees. He made so much of his career. From an apprentice to a president . He gave so much back to his country, community and company. Most of all he was a nice guy.
Richard Gilmore
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