Cover photo for James Joseph Gillespie's Obituary
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1937 James 2022

James Joseph Gillespie

November 22, 1937 — January 23, 2022

James Joseph Gillespie, Jr., 84, loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, passed peacefully from this life and went to God in the early morning on Sunday, January 23, 2022.

 

He was born to James Joseph, Sr., and Mary Kane Gillespie on November 22, 1937, the oldest of seven children, in Poughkeepsie, New York; moved to Centralia, Pennsylvania; and grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  He attended St. Callistus Catholic School, St. Thomas More High School, and graduated from Villanova University in 1965, a devoted follower of their basketball program.  In addition, he served in the U.S. Navy on active duty and the reserves in the 1960s.

 

His professional career began in the late 1950s, where he worked with the first computers produced, continuing in that field as the industry grew, first at Univac Corporation in Pennsylvania, then Pentastar Corporation, CSC and SAIC in Alabama. 

 

The other, right-brain side of Joe was demonstrated by his love of art, music, and theatre.  He was an irrepressible baritone, known by many for his rendition of “Danny Boy,” and he participated in his church choir for many a year, adding much volume to the men’s section.  In his middle years, he could be found in community theatre productions in Pennsylvania and Alabama, both onstage and in a directorial capacity.  

 

Most of all, though, he loved nothing more than a spirited debate with anyone and most everyone on his favorite subjects—politics and religion.  Those debates satisfied his innate desire to teach wherever and whenever possible.  While perhaps an occasional listener escaped without being completely persuaded to his position (!), Joe always hoped that he had planted a seed.  

 

Joe is survived by his wife of 35 years, Ingrid; his daughter, Carolyn Kottmeyer, and her husband, Mark, along with his granddaughters, Alexa and Jessie, and his great-granddaughter, Alanna; his daughter, Elizabeth Lilley, and her husband, Bryan and his grandson, James; and his son, Edward (“Ted”) Gillespie.  Joe was predeceased by his son, James Joseph (“Jay”) Gillespie, III.  He is also survived by his sisters, Sarah Ferraro, Mary Theresa Bergan, and Catherine Whelan; and by his brothers, Michael Gillespie, Patrick Gillespie, and Bernard Gillespie.  

 

Visitation will begin at 10:30 a.m. at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 1055 Hughes Road, Madison.  The Funeral Mass will begin at noon with Fr. Antony Vadakara presiding.  In lieu of flowers, donations would be gratefully accepted by the St. John’s Music Ministry or the St. John’s conference of the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

 

Joe will be deeply missed; and while the void will never be completely filled, his memory will always bring joy to our hearts.  May he rest in peace. 

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Friday, January 28, 2022

10:30am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

St. John the Baptist Catholic Church

1055 Hughes Rd, Madison, AL 35758

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Funeral Mass

Friday, January 28, 2022

Starts at 12:00 pm (Central time)

St. John the Baptist Catholic Church

1055 Hughes Rd, Madison, AL 35758

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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