Obituary: William “Bill” Edward Gillis

William “Bill” Edward Gillis

William “Bill” Edward Gillis passed away peacefully on Oct. 17, 2017, in Lemon Cove, Calif., surrounded by family and friends at the age of 81. He was born June 7, 1936, in Sanger, Calif. to Robert and Blanch Gillis. He attended Sanger High School. On Sept. 16, 1956, he married his sweetheart, Velma Stone, of Reedley, Calif. in Reno, Nev. They recently celebrated their 61st anniversary. Bill worked for four years with the Forestry Department as a firefighter. He then joined the Air Force, where he served four years as a jet mechanic at George Air Force Base in Victorville, Calif. After his discharge he was employed for 34 years with Caltrans.  He was an avid hunter and fisherman and enjoyed the outdoors. For many years he served as the leader for the Boy Scout troop in Lemon Cove. Bill also enjoyed reading, gardening and working on various woodworking projects in his workshop.

Bill is survived by his wife, Velma; his daughter, Carol, and husband Richard Santana of Lemon Cove; grandchildren, Misty and husband Ryan Wallace of Woodlake, Lori and husband Thomas Dixon of Visalia, Melissa Santana of Exeter, Ryan and wife Amy Gillis of Exeter, and Rena VanMeter of Oregon; great-grandchildren, Chase, Connor and Cayden Wallace, and Dominic Gillis; great-great-grandchildren, Skylar Dixon and Ellis Kravetz; his sister in law, Virginia Sowl of New York; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Besides his parents and siblings, he was preceded in death by sons, Don and Ron Gillis, and a granddaughter, Alicia Santana. Visitation was held on Monday, Oct. 23, 2017 at Evans Miller Guinn Chapel. Services were at the chapel on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017 followed by a burial in the Woodlake Public Cemetery.  Condolences may be sent to the family at

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