Saturday, July 25th, New Waterford lost one of its finest men, our dad, James Gregory Gillis. James passed away peacefully at the New Waterford Consolidated Hospital at the young age of 85 after a brief battle with cancer. And for the record, he did not lose his battle with cancer, when he died, the cancer died too, so technically it was a tie! Dad would have said that.
Dad was born to Duncan and Margaret Gillis in 1934 in his beloved town, New Waterford. Like most kids of the 1930’s, Dad grew up around a large family working in the once bustling town and enjoying the innocence of youth. Dad had many talents; he was a licensed Millwright, Pipefitter, Mechanic and Handyman who could fix anything. He worked for Devco at Phalen and Prince Mines, Kaiser in Pt. Edward and Atomic Energy of Canada at Port Hawkesbury and Glace Bay. Dad was well known in town and the shop keepers, bank tellers, baristas, cashiers, clerks, pharmacists all knew him as he always had a funny story to tell or as he would simply say “just some kind words”. To us, Dad was our family’s Patriarch, family biographer and historian, the best storyteller and a pretty good crib player too!
Dad is survived by his loving wife of 61 years, Pearl, as well as children, James Jr.(Kim), Johnny (Nan), Wayne(Patricia), Carolyn(Stephen), Darren(Phuong), Sharon(Mark) and 14 grandchildren and four great- grandchildren; sister, Lois(Donnie); brothers, Duncan, Alec and Danny as well as his nieces and nephews and cousins.
Besides his parents, James was predeceased by brothers, John D., Martin, Angus, Hughie, Bernie and sister, Peggy.
Dad’s legacy was his family and we were his whole world as he was ours.
A visitation will be held to honour our Dad on Saturday, August 1, 2020 from 10 a.m. - noon at V.J. McGillivray Funeral Home, 380 Smith Street, New Waterford (Please wear a mask and respect social distancing regulations while on the funeral home premises). A private Funeral Mass will be held at the Parish Church of St. Leonard with Father Ray Huntley officiating. Burial will be in Mount Carmel Cemetery at a later date.
Dad’s family wishes to thank family and friends, medical staff at Cape Breton Regional Hospital and New Waterford Hospital for their compassion and care of Dad. Donations in his memory may be made to the Canadian Cancer Society. Online expressions of sympathy may be sent to the family at: www.vjmcgillivray.ca.