“This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through.”
William “Bill” Eugene Gillaspie, 88, of Angels Camp, passed away on April 29, 2019 in Stockton after a brief illness.
He was born to William Marion and Minnie Dorothy (Henry) Gillaspie on March 12, 1931, in San Antonio, Texas. He graduated from Taft High School in 1949, and went on to study Auto Mechanics at Taft Junior College, graduating with an Associates degree.
Bill married Naomi Ella Smith on Oct. 5, 1956, in Ceres, Calif. Together they raised two sons, William Bruce and Dennis Paul.
Bill worked as a surveillance radar technician for the United States Air Force at many air bases including posts in Japan, Alaska, Greenland and Key West – where he had the privilege of shaking President Kennedy’s hand. After 23 years of service, he retired from the United States Air Force in 1976. Bill and family then moved to the Angels Camp area where he began his next career with Bret Harte High School as a bus driver and maintenance worker.
After his second retirement in 1993, Bill volunteered at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in the machine shops, as a roundhouse tour guide, and as a conductor in historical costume on the train runs. He was an active member of the Murphys Church of Christ. Bill also worked many summers with his family at Yosemite Bible Camp where his campfire characters of Mr. Pots, the Motorcycle Rider and Abraham Lincoln were always enjoyed by the campers.
Bill was preceded in death by his wife, Naomi; his sons, Bruce and Paul; and his brother, Donald.
Bill is survived by siblings, Robert (Shirley), Alvin (Dee) and Sue (Larry) Pirtle; grandsons, William Cortney and David Paul; daughters-in-law, Kathy and Di Ann Gillaspie; and many nieces and nephews.
Angels Memorial Chapel will be taking care of the arrangements. The funeral is scheduled for Friday, May 10, 2019, at 11 a.m. at Murphys Church of Christ, 89 E Highway 4, Murphys, Calif. 95247. Interment will immediately follow at the Altaville Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Yosemite Bible Camp or Hughson Christian School.