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Gerry W. Gillispie

November 29, 1932 — April 21, 2016

Gerry W. Gillispie, 83, of Bethlehem, passed away peacefully on Thursday, April 21, 2016 surrounded by his family. Born in Philadelphia on November 29, 1932, he was the son of the late Helen (Anders) Harral and Earl Gillispie. He was the loving husband of Sally (McKnight) Gillispie; they were married 60 years.

Gerry graduated from Penn State University in 1954 on a Naval ROTC scholarship with a degree in Chemical Engineering. He was a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity, and with fraternity brothers and their families gathered annually at Wildwood, New Jersey for 62 years. Playing soccer since junior high school and Lower Marion Senior High in Ardmore, he played mid field half back on Penn States Soccer team from 1950 - 1954. In 1954, Gerrys last year, the Penn State team was undefeated and was awarded National Soccer Champions.

Gerry served on the U.S.S. Sanborn APA-193 as Ensign in 1954 and the newly commissioned U.S.S. LSD 32 Spiegel Grove from 1956 - 1958 as Lt Jg. He began his career as a Chemical Engineer for Esso in Bayonne, NJ in 1958. In 1963 Gerry moved to Bethlehem to work at J.T. Baker Chemical Company in Phillipsburg, NJ. In 1970 he began his own business as a Small Business Consultant to help businesses with accounting, payroll, and tax preparation. Upon retiring in 1995 he began his new career of gardening, completing Penn State Master Gardner classes, sharing his knowledge in converting lawns into flower gardens, and giving helpful advice in planting and pruning.

In 1968 Gerry helped to establish Greater Bethlehem Soccer League, recreational soccer for boys and girls ages 5-13, and continued his interest in soccer by refereeing with the Lehigh Valley Chapter of PIAA for high school soccer games in Lehigh, Northampton and Monroe Counties.

Gerry became involved with Musikfest from the very beginning in 1983 through 1987 when it was named the Bethlehem Musikfest Association, and into 2002 when it became ArtsQuest. He was a volunteer at the Banana Factory, later serving on the Banana Factory Council and filling in as Acting Director for a short time. Gerry continued to serve in many capacities and later as Chair, Vice Chair and Treasurer of Bethlehem Musikfest Association. He was honored as a 30 year volunteer in 2013.

Burnside Plantation came to the attention of community leaders in the 1980s; Gerry volunteered to help establish it as an 18th Century historic site in Bethlehem, Lehigh County, through renovations to the 1747 house, building of a barn, restoring a garden and an original orchard. He served as President in 1988 and continued volunteering through many years that followed.

Gerry was an active member of Bethlehem First Presbyterian Church, served on the Board of Trustees, as Treasurer, and volunteered for Mission work in the U.S., Youth With A Mission in Hawaii, and a Habitat for Humanity Build in South Africa. Continuing in his love of gardening he worked in helping to maintain the Memorial Garden at First Pres Church for more than 10 years.

Gerry will be lovingly remembered by his wife, Sally; son, Thomas J. and his wife Pam of Acton, MA; daughter, Gwen L. Gillispie of St. Petersburg, FL; granddaughter, Elizabeth L. and husband Kenny Garreau; grandsons, T. J. Gillispie and Eduardo D. Cintron; and sister, Adele Juzi. He was predeceased by his son, Terry W. Gillispie in January 2016.

A Memorial Service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 30, in the Sanctuary at First Presbyterian Church, 2344 Center St, Bethlehem, PA 18017.

In lieu of flowers, please consider contributions sent to the church for perennial flowers to be planted in the churchs Memorial Garden.

Memorial Service
Saturday, April 30, 2016
2:00 PM
First Presbyterian Church
2344 Center St.
Bethlehem PA

Funeral HomeConnell Funeral Home, Inc.
245 East Broad St.
Bethlehem PA - 18018

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Gerry W. Gillispie, please visit our flower store.

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