Christopher Gillies

Christopher Gillies, retired senior master sergeant for the Air National Guard, died Monday after a period of declining health. He was 65.

He was remembered by his family Thursday as a humble and proud man who was dedicated to his family and country.

Mr. Gillies enlisted in the Air Force after graduating from Portland High School in 1973. He served four years, then joined the Air National Guard in South Portland. According to his obituary, published in Thursday’s Press Herald, Gillies was deployed three times to the Middle East, serving tours during Operation Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

During his 38 year-career, he received the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal and the Air Force Commendation Medal.

Mr. Gillies was a project manager for the Air National Guard from 2008 to 2012. He supervised three electronics technicians and three heavy motor vehicle mechanics. He was previously a logistics plans manager from 1990-2008. He retired from the service in 2012.

“His military career was his life,” said his wife, Mary Ellen Gillies of Portland.

He was married to Mary Ellen for 46 years and the couple lived in Portland, where they raised four children. She reminisced Thursday about being classmates at the former Jack Junior High School in Portland. They also attended Portland High School, where he played football and was team captain in 1973.

The couple had their 46th wedding anniversary Sunday. He died the following day.

“We had a wonderful life together,” his wife said. “He was a wonderful father, who provided for his kids. They wanted for nothing. He was a wonderful husband. I never ever needed anything in life.”

Mr. Gillies was active in the community. He coached Little Ladd football in Portland for 16 years, and also officiated games and served on the Southwestern Maine Board of Officials for more than 15 years.

“He loved football and loved coaching the children,” his wife said. “He loved helping the kids reach their fullest potential.”

Mr. Gillies was a longtime blood donor for the American Red Cross, donating more than 19 gallons of blood during his lifetime.

His wife said he had a very close relationship with his grandchildren. She said the kids are devastated by his passing.

“They are sitting in his chair wrapped in his blanket,” his wife said. “They are crying a lot. He will really be missed by all.”

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: