John Gillis

John Donald Gillis died Sept. 2, 2017, in Olympia, Washington.

John Donald Gillis died Sept. 2, 2017, in Olympia, Washington.

He was born May 15, 1922, in Washtucna, Washington, the youngest of eight children born to John and Ethel Gillis. He attended Washington State University prior to volunteering for the armed forces in 1942. He attained the rank of captain and served as an anti-tank unit commander in the European Theater. He participated in major battles and was awarded both the Combat Infantry Badge and the Bronze Star, while his unit was awarded the Coat of Arms for participating in the liberation of the fortified city of Colmar, France. After being discharged in 1946 he returned to WSU and graduated in 1948.

He and his wife Arlene were married June 14, 1947, in Spokane, Washington. He served as a high school teacher in Odessa, Washington, and Concrete, Washington, before moving to Enumclaw, where he retired from the Enumclaw School District after 31 years of teaching. He and his wife enjoyed traveling to many foreign and domestic places of interest. He also enjoyed gardening and all outdoor activities. He was a member and served terms as an elder at Calvary Presbyterian Church in Enumclaw.

He is survived by daughters Susan Gillis and Cathy Ashford (Mike), both of Olympia, Washington. He was preceded in death by his wife Arlene in 2012, five brothers and two sisters.

A graveside service with military honors is planned for 2 p.m. Sept. 26, at Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent.

Remembrances may be made to the Salvation Army or a charity of the donor’s choice. All may sign his online guest book at

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