Francis X. “Fran” Gillis

August 6, 2018

Francis X. “Fran” Gillis
U.S. Veteran

US Army

Francis (Fran) X. Gillis, age 67, passed away unexpectedly while traveling on July 20, 2018. Francis was born in Woburn, Massachusetts. He was the beloved son of the late Suzanne B. Gillis and the late John A. Gillis, devoted brother to John D. Gillis and wife Sara of Framingham, Roland W. Gillis and wife Donna of Lynnfield, Mark D. Gillis and wife Wenxin of Issaquah, Washington, sister Mary S. Randall and husband Kim of Eagle, Idaho, and sister Jacqueline M. Gillis and husband Marc Zimmerman of Hudson, MA. Francis was also the beloved uncle to eight nieces and nephews as well as eight great-nieces and nephews. Fran also leaves an extended family of current and former Boy Scout troop members from his life-time commitment to the advancement of scouting wherever his life brought him. A Boy Scout Leadership scholarship fund, the Fran Gillis Memorial Fund [http://www.troop629.org/gillis], has been established to help current and future scout members experience what he found so rewarding, no matter their financial situation. A memorial service celebrating his life will be held in the near future in Georgia.

Francis (Fran) X. Gillis, age 67, passed away unexpectedly while traveling on July 20, 2018. Francis was born in Woburn, Massachusetts. He was the beloved son of the late Suzanne B. Gillis and the late John A. Gillis, devoted brother to John D. Gillis and wife Sara of Framingham, Roland W. Gillis and wife Donna of Lynnfield, Mark D. Gillis and wife Wenxin of Issaquah, Washington, sister Mary S. Randall and husband Kim of Eagle, Idaho, and sister Jacqueline M. Gillis and husband Marc Zimmerman of Hudson, MA. Francis was also the beloved uncle to eight nieces and nephews as well as eight great-nieces and nephews. Fran also leaves an extended family of current and former Boy Scout troop members from his life-time commitment to the advancement of scouting wherever his life brought him.

While growing up, he spent every summer at Boy Scout camps, including a self-financed trip to a World Scouts Jamboree. As a student at Woburn High School, Fran was active in the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) which further advanced his commitment to service and teamwork. This involvement in ROTC and Scouting contributed to his receiving an Army scholarship to Northeastern University where he graduated with a B.S. in Civil Engineering as a Distinguished Military Graduate. Following graduation, he served 22 years in the U.S. Army and retired with the rank of Lt. Colonel. While serving in the army, he completed a M.S. degree in Systems Management.

His commitment to the Boy Scouts throughout his life contributed to his appreciation for the outdoors. Fran was an active member of the Appalachian Mountain club and attained his goal of climbing all the 4,000-ft mountains in New Hampshire. He often said he would rather camp anywhere than stay in a hotel. With his military service sending him to many parts of the world, he developed a love of traveling while maintaining his commitment to scouting internationally. If there wasn’t an active troop where he was stationed, he would start one. His involvement included Boy Scout troops in Korea, Germany, Honduras, as well in Kansas, Louisiana, California, and the Washington, D.C. area. After serving in the army, Fran worked for more than 15 years at the Georgia Institute of Technology, retiring as Director of Housing.

His current troop in Johns Creek, Georgia, mourns the loss of their scout leader of almost 20 years. Fran was extremely proud of mentoring over a hundred Eagle Scout inductees and encouraging any boy in his troop to embrace what scouting had to offer. In Fran’s own words, “My job as scout master over the years was to add my two cents in keeping the boys focused on their future and their personal potential and to aid them in whatever endeavor they took on. Each and every scout is special in their own way. Of course, they have many other influences along the way from parents, family, school, church and other organizations but I do believe the scouting program is the thread throughout their years that brings out their individual talents and molds them into the special young adults they become.

A Boy Scout Leadership scholarship fund, the Fran Gillis Memorial Fund [http://www.troop629.org/gillis], has been established to help current and future scout members experience what he found so rewarding, no matter their financial situation. A memorial service celebrating his life will be held in the near future in Georgia.

Service arrangements pending, please check back soon.

Guestbook

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  1. My heart is broken. I worked with Fran and the early 90s at Fort Polk Louisiana. His devotion to the Boy Scout program never wavered. He was a great scoutmaster, and a wonderful friend.

  2. Dear Gillis family. It is with deep regret that I am writing this note to you. Fran was our Boy Scout Troop 629 Scoutmaster at Mt. Pisgah in Alpharetta for 20 years. I was fortunate enough to thoroughly enjoy being an assistant Scoutmaster under his leadership for 10 years while my son Steven achieved Eagle Scout. He was a selfless man who gave his all to scouting. Fran encouraged the boys to lead under his guidance. He turned many boys into men, including my son, and sincerely made a difference in their lives. Fran truly lived the Scout Oath and Motto and will be greatly missed.

  3. Robert Doherty Jr

    Dear Gillis Family,
    Fran was a great influence on me as a scout in Troop 502. I have fond memories of camping, hiking, & riding in his Capri. Fran always treated me with respect & showed me the importance of volunteering. I am who I am today in part from scouting & Fran.

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