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 www.woolsey-wilton.com