EACS James Harold "Pepa" Gillette
EACS James Harold "Pepa" Gillette, U.S. Navy SeaBees, Ret 's love of life didn't come to an end with his death. James a longtime resident of DeLand, FL, passed away on August 11th, 2022, at the age of 90 at home in his beloved chair surrounded by loved ones who will continue to honor his legacy by living their lives to the fullest.
Born in Lebannon, FL, January 18th, 1932, the son of the late James Ivy and Ella Louise Gillette, he was raised and educated in Barberville and Jacksonville, FL.
James was a proud military veteran serving more than 35 years of total service to his country in both the Army and Navy. The last 20 years of his military career were spent serving as a Navy Seabee Construction Engineer from which he retired as a Senior Chief in 1986. He made numerous deployments around the globe serving in 6 Continents. He received many awards and medals, including Navy Occupational service metal with a European Class, Antarctic Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Navy Battle Efficiency Ribbon, .45 Caliber pistol expert, 6 Good Conduct Awards, Combat Action Ribbon, Meritorious Unit Commendation, 2 Run Meritorious Unit Citations, Navy Unit Commendation, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, 2 National Defense Service Medals, Korean Service Medal with 2 Bronze Stars, United Nations Service Medal, Navy Achievement Award, and M16 Expert. His life was spent using the principles of his military career to succeed as he did.
James worked as a Contract Surveillance Representative as a Civilian for the Department of the Navy in the US Civil Service from May 1988 until he retired in January 1994 at the Naval Training Center in Orlando, FL.
He was a dedicated member of the Knights of Columbus Council No. 6274, as well as a Minister of Hospitality at St Peter Catholic Church. He faithfully served the Church, his family and our country, embodying the principles of charity, unity, fraternity, and patriotism.
The simplest pleasures in life brought great joy to James. He loved a quiet sunny day fishing in the local lakes on his boat, sitting in his garage reading his bible and evenings watching old westerns or comedies. He had a fascinating ability to tinker in the garage making little tools and gadgets out of everything and anything. In his younger years he enjoyed traveling, hunting, golfing and spending time with his family. His smile and his humorous personality was contagious to everyone he met.
James is survived by his wife, Louise; one brother Joseph Russell Gillette; one sister, Marlene Carroll; two sons, James (Lorna) Thoman and Wayne (Helene) Thoman; two daughters, Kathleen (Dave) Johnson and Carol Ann (Stacy) Driggers; 6 Grandchildren, Galadriel Thoman, Jamie (Mark) Cayton, Kevin (Gabrielle) Gillette, Virginia (Kraig) Whitmore, Elizabeth Johnson and James Johnson; 5 Great grandchildren, Dunthyon Thoman, William Thoman, Carlie Cayton, Brayden Cayton, Victoria Whitmore, and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.
He was predeceased by his parents, James Ivy Gillette and Ella Louise Gillette and his two sisters Maxine Cyrus and Lucille Glunt.
Family, Friends and those who wish to join are invited to attend James' Life Celebration to be held on Tuesday August 16, 2022 from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m., at Lankford Funeral Home and Crematory, 220 E New York Ave, DeLand, FL 32724. His Funeral Service will take place on Wednesday, August 17, 2022 at 10 AM at St. Peter Catholic Church, 359 New York Ave W, DeLand, FL 32720. His Burial with full military honors will follow at DeLand Memorial Gardens cemetery, 600 E Beresford Ave, DeLand, FL 32724.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to unbound.org/DonationFunds or St. Peter Catholic Church.