For Posterity's Sake         

A Royal Canadian Navy Historical Project


In memory of those who have Crossed the Bar 


Colin Robert Gillis


Canadian Army / C.A.F.


Born: 03 Aug 1936, Truro, Nova Scotia


Died: 15 Apr 2019, Kentville, Nova Scotia


GILLIS, Colin Robert - age 82 of Windsor, passed away peacefully on Monday, April 15, 2019 in Valley Regional Hospital, Kentville. He was the loving husband of the late Patsy (Lowe) Gillis and cherished father to Cathy (Earle) Williams, Robert (Jill) Gillis and Patti (Stanley) Boyd. He was the adored grampy of Dawn, Meaghan, Amy, Colin, Alex, George, Jobean and Laura and great-grampy of Ashton and Xavier. He also leaves his sister, Karen Daley. He was predeceased by his parents, Angus and Mary (Balong) Gillis; his brother, Donald; and nephew, Kirk. Colin was born in Truro on August 3, 1936. In September 1954 at the age of 18, he enrolled in the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps where he served as a Supply and Transport Officer until September 1958. What Colin would describe as the best day of his life occurred when he began ab initio training as a Helicopter Pilot at the United States Army Primary Helicopter School at Camp Wolters, Texas and completed the US Army Transportation Helicopter Course at Fort Ruckers, Alabama in May 1959. Following a one-year attachment to the 64th Transportation Company in Fort Knox, Kentucky, flying H34 helicopters, Colin returned to Canadian Army ground duty in Camp Bordon, Ontario. He then completed fixed wing conversion training on L19 aircraft in Rivers, Man., followed by duty as a Peacekeeper in the United Nations Emergency Force in Egypt until 1964. After Egypt, Colin returned to the newly formed No 1 Transport Helicopter Platoon and was posted to Shearwater as a Utility Pilot. He then deployed to the HMCS Protector for several exercises in the North Atlantic and in San Juan, Puerto Rico, ending in March 1969. In 1970, he was posted as a primary Helicopter instructor in CFB Portage La Prairie, Man. He served as a helicopter instructor, standards officer and standards flight commander on C112's and CH136's. He achieved over 1000 accident free instructional hours until posted to CFB Gagetown as Base Flight Safety Officer in 1974. He was posted to the 103 Rescue Unit in Gander, N.L. in 1977 and promoted to the rank of Major. He served as Deputy Commanding Officer and as Commanding Officer of the 103 Rescue Unit until 1981 when he was then posted as Commanding Officer, Rescue Coordination Center, Maritime Command. He retired from the Canadian Forces in 1982. This allowed Colin and his family to be close to their extended family and allowed Colin to continue flying. Following his retirement from the Forces, he accepted a position as a helicopter pilot with the Nova Scotia Department of Lands and Forest and became the Director of Air Services for the province of Nova Scotia until his retirement in 1998. After retiring, Colin was a loving caregiver to his wife Patsy until her death in December 2001. He eventually relocated to Windsor and settled at Gladys Manning Retirement community where he happily enjoyed the beautiful vistas and received loving care, comfort and support from his family and the staff of Gladys Manning. Colin was an active volunteer in the communities where he lived. He was a member of the Lion's Club of Shubenacadie and the Legions in Shubenacadie and Windsor and was proud to serve as a Cadet Inspector. His last flight was by Life Flight Helicopter to the Valley Regional Hospital; a very poignant moment for his family. We would like to extend heartfelt thanks to the staff of the ICU at Valley Regional Hospital for the excellent, compassionate and dignified care he received. We are very grateful to the ICU nurses, especially Michel who not only cared for Colin but cared for his family as well, offering gentle support and guidance. We would also like to extend our deepest and warmest appreciation to the staff and associates of the Gladys Manning Retirement community who were so very kind to Colin and always went above and beyond to ensure his happiness and well-being; manager, Teresa Sanford, chef, Andrew Dill, Karen Ferguson and his caregiver, Debbie Graves who added so much brightness to his day. Arrangements have been entrusted to DeMont Family Funeral Home & Cremation Service, 419 Albert St., Windsor (902-798-8317). A Funeral Mass will take place Tuesday, April 30th at 11 a.m., in St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, 339 King St., Windsor, Rev. Father John MacPherson officiating. Private family interment will take place immediately following in St. John's Parish Cemetery, Windsor. A reception will be held in the parish hall. Family flowers only by request. If so wished, donations in memory of Colin may be made to the Valley Regional Hospital Foundation, 150 Exhibition St., Box 911, Kentville, NS B4N 5E3 or the Harvest House Community Outreach Center, PO Box 903, Windsor, NS B0N 2T0. (Halifax Chronicle-Herald 25 Apr 2019)


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