Robert (Bob) J. Gillis (Uncle Bob) was born in 1925 in San Mateo, California to Mr. Raymond Gillis and Eva Phillips Gillis. He joined the Navy in 1943 and was stationed in Espiritu Santo during WWII. He always told stories about how the constant search for this tactically located pacific Naval Base required daily changing of the overhead camouflage. This Naval Base was soon to be the second largest base in theater and thus had extreme value. To put in Uncle Bob’s words, “We were always busy and always looking up.”
After the war, Bob took a temporary job with Bank of America from which he retired 35 years later. He often joked about being retired longer than being employed by BofA thus provoking the ire of BofA corporate office. He worked in the Bank of America international division mostly in the far east including Japan, India, Singapore, and the Philippines. You should see his passports! One of his favorite stories was the evacuation of Saigon. He had to close the bank, make sure all the confidential documents were destroyed, and get out of the country. But mostly he remembered being so hungry when he got on the evacuation plane and there was no food to be had! Our family visited Uncle Bob in Singapore in 1974 and experienced his “exotic” life overseas. We were able to join him on his beloved sailboat and meet many of his lifelong friends.
One of Bob’s passions was traveling. He not only made the million-mile air club while he worked overseas, he also jumped into RVing with his Bounder Class A. He belonged to numerous clubs and enjoyed campouts, rallies, and caravans. Over the 15 years he drove his RV, he visited 44 states and was stopped from completing all 49 due to a medical emergency. He especially loved back-roads to learn about small town America. We affectionately called him “Rand McNally” because he knew every back road, he had ever traveled.
His favorite small town was, of course, Gasquet. When he retired, he came to Gasquet to take care of his mother (Eva Gillis) and the house. He lived in the house his parents built all the way until his death on November 12, 2022. The house was his project. Every time he came home on leave, he did a huge project and after retirement he continued to renovate and expand until we started calling it the Winchester mystery house.
Other things he loved were: cold brew coffee, five finger ferns, limburger cheese, reading history and biography books, and being self-sufficient. We like to tell people that Uncle Bob was doing his own laundry up to one week before he died.
Uncle Bob is survived by John Mausser (Jan), Katy Heaton (Mark), Patty Mausser, Linda Burke (Joel), Tiffany Mausser (David Belmont), Daniel Heaton, and Evan Heaton and Jacen Mausser Belmont.
He was preceded in death by his parents: Raymond Gillis and Eva Gillis, his brothers: Barney Gillis and Jim Gillis and his sister Mary Mausser.
Arrangements are under the direction of Wier’s Mortuary Chapel. Please sign the family’s online guest book at wiersmortuary.com
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