Maxwell Gillette
1928 - 2020
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Maxwell C. Gillette
March 2,1928 - December 10, 2020
Maxwell ClaudeGillette, last of the 12 children of Charles and Emma Gillette, died at California Pacific Medical Center Dec.10, 2020, a victim of lung cancer.
Recent sibling departures include in 2019 brothers Harold and Roscoe; and on Nov. 7, 2020, sister Geraldine Earp. The entire crew (parents Charles and Emma and siblings Lynwood, Charles Jr., William, Auverege, Annie, Idell, Gladys, and Edythe) is together again.

Born in Des Ark, Arkansas March 2, 1928, "Max", as he was fondly called, came to SF in1943 when his parents relocated from Chicago, Il. He joined Bethel AME Church in San Francisco ,and was an active member, singing in the choir, representing Bethel at area youth debate programs, and eventually being named a trustee of the church. In 2018 he was awarded the Trustee Emeritus title, in recognition of his 60+years of exemplary service.

Other recognitions include the Unsung Heroes award by the Public Library, the Man of the Year by KQED, the "Legends Award' by the Sons of Allen of Bethel AMEC and Outstanding Kappa Achievement.

A Lowell High School, graduate, Max received his BA and MA degrees in Industrial Arts from SF State College Nothing delighted him more than to be greeted on the street by former Ben Franklin School students thanking him for teaching woodshop to them and for being their role model.

Following a stint in military service, Max served as administrator of John Adams Community College Center. He retired from the community colleges in 1991. He continued to address community needs through his church work.

Max married Frankie Jacobs, a federal government anti-poverty program administrator in 1976 . They traveled extensively and cheerfully represented San Francisco as members of the San Francisco-Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire Sister City Committee. He enjoyed accompanying Frankie to meetings of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women's Clubs, and escorting her to his fraternal conventions, including the Kappa Alpha Psi, and the Sigma Phi Phi fraternities and the Mt. Hebro Masonic Lodge. Annual Jazz cruises was another joy.

Along with Frankie, Max leaves to remember him fondly several nieces, and nephews in the Bay Area and throughout the world.

A virtual Celebration of Life will occur Wednesday, December 30, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. Email by Dec. 23 if you wish to attend and/or participate programatically..You will receive a Zoom identify number.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Dec. 12 to Dec. 13, 2020.
Memories & Condolences
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13 entries
December 28, 2020
In loving memory of a wonderful person. We will love you and miss you always.
Dr. Sodonia M. Wilson
December 22, 2020
Mrs. Gillette, we are saddened to hear of the passing of your beloved husband. You have our deepest sympathy. The two of you were very special friends to my mother Melody. I know she would want me to thank you for your generosity and exemplary care for family, friends, young people, church family and others members of the San Francisco community. We will miss Mr. Gillette greatly but we give thanks for his long life filled with accomplishments. You are in our prayers knowing your great loss. Our Lord is with you. May He give you strength each step of the way.
Linda and Phil Stewart
December 21, 2020
Alluring Elegance Bouquet
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Sympathy Gift courtesy of
Catherine Kelliher
December 18, 2020
My Condolences you Ms. Gillette and your Family. Though not in any of his classes, I was a student at Ben, while he was teaching there.
I don't recall ever seeing him without a smile. The vibes I picked up from him, carried a message that he was a very caring person.
Peace and Comfort to you Ms. Gillette.
Ernest J. Mims
December 16, 2020
Max, a kind and gentle man is dancing with the angels
Brenda Grant
December 16, 2020
Group of 10 Memorial Trees
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Sympathy Gift courtesy of
Gina Benson
December 14, 2020
An Exemplary individual who carried himself well.
Presidio, Washington, and at John Adams, I can proudly say, I knew this MAN!
Dan Gallagher
December 13, 2020
Maxwell C. Gillette was one of my favorite instructors while I attended Presidio Junior High School in the early sixties. As my younger brother, Bo, mentioned, I was also enrolled in his mechanical drawing class. Prior to that, I knew Maxwell as an instructor at Lux Electronics Laboratory (Polytechnic High School). That was in 1959.

I cannot think of any finer individual. He and his wife, Frankie were often seen attending cultural events around the Bay Area. I will always treasure his memory and how he inspired me in so many ways.

Richard Links
December 13, 2020
May the love of friends and family carry you through your grief.
Myron H. Johnson, Jr. a/k/a JayJay
December 13, 2020
We at Bethel AME Church, San Francisco, the city itself, and the world, have lost a gentleman Karma an honest man, a decent man, and one who lived his Christian beliefs. Mr. Gillette showed kindness and caring to everyone. When he was the target rudeness, he responded with understanding. He was a quiet man who demonstrated his Oneness with God, not by shouting and Loud expressions, but by communing with God in the quiet sereneness of his heart and soul. He will be sorely missed. Condolences to his widow, mrs. Frankie Gillette.
Francine K Howard
December 13, 2020
Max was a wonderful man. He will be deeply missed.
Marc Loupe and Anette Harris
December 13, 2020
One of the greatest teachers I ever had. Presidio Jr. High. Mechanical Drawing. He was so inspiring. He made us all aspire to the highest standards. Just amazing. Never have forgotten being in his class. So lucky to have experienced his guiding hand. RIP.
Bo Links
December 13, 2020
One of the greatest teachers I ever had. Just an amazing, inspiring educator. So grateful for having been in his classes. He made us all come alive and aspire to the highest standard. RIP.
Bo Links
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