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Thomas J. Gillespie

Thomas J. Gillespie, 79, beloved husband of Donna S. (Hall) Gillespie and lifelong resident of Ipswich, passed away peacefully at his home surrounded by his loving family, on September 24, 2020 after a long illness.

Born in Ipswich on October 14, 1940, Tom was the son of the late Clarence and Bertha I. (Scott) Gillespie and the beloved son-in-law of the late Mark and Clara Hall of Phoenix, AZ.  He attended Ipswich public schools, graduating Ipswich High School in the Class of 1958.

Upon graduation Tom enlisted in the United States Army and was stationed in Heidelberg, Germany where he was a Military Police Officer in the 529th MP. He had the distinguished honor to serve as a member of the platoon that was selected to protect President Eisenhower at the summit conferences in Paris France in 1959. While stationed in Heidelberg he met his wife Donna who was also serving at the U.S. 8th Army Headquarters.

After just one dance, they knew they would spend the rest of their lives together.  Tom and Donna were married in Ipswich on June 24, 1961. 

Tom had many careers over the years including several military related civilian positions with Sylvania, Raytheon and Avco Corp.  He and Donna owned and operated the former Wilcomb’s Store, later a food service business, and for many years they prepared and sold crab and lobster rolls at the annual Topsfield Fair.  After recovering from his first heart attack in the early 1980’s, Tom went back to trade school to become an electrician.  He completed his education and training as a Master Electrician.  Tom and his youngest son Mark worked many years together as electricians until his illness made it necessary for him to retire in 2010.

Over the years Tom enjoyed boating, fishing and hunting with his friends and family but his passion was golf. He enjoyed playing competitively but also with his wife and all three children.  Tom was an avid Patriots fan and most Sunday afternoons in the Fall were spent with his wife, daughter and son-in-law watching the game and having a Sunday Dinner.  In addition to being an electrician, Tom could fix or build just about anything and he passed that knowledge and those skills along to his oldest son, and namesake, Tommy.

Tom had many pets over the years and there would always be a dog at his feet or a cat on his lap.  Most recently you could see him walking his beloved little dog Dollie at one of the neighborhood parks. 

Tom was a member of the John T. Heard Lodge where he was made a Master Mason in 1963. On September 14, 2020, in a lovely ceremony in his home, brethren from the lodge presented Tom with a medal honoring fifty years of faithful service to the lodge and his masonic brothers.

In addition to his wife Donna of fifty-nine years, he is survived by a daughter, Cheryl L. Gorniewicz and her husband Benjie of Ipswich, two sons, Thomas S. Gillespie and his wife Melissa of Allentown, NH and  Mark M. Gillespie and his companion Lisa Teele of Ipswich.  He was the beloved grandfather of four, Nicholas Pappas and his wife Liz of RI, Mariah Gillespie and her companion Patrick Terry of OR, Alesandra Gillespie and her companion Joey Nickerson of Essex and Jacqueline Gillespie and her companion Jack Davis of Ipswich. He had a very special bond with his great nephew, Brock Peirce of CA.  Tom was also blessed with three great grandchildren, Nick, Bella and Williamthree nieces, Kellie Gillespie and Marcene “Gigi” Pierce both of CA and Diane Gillespie of NH, a brother, James Gillespie of NY, one nephew, Jerry Hall of AZ, and three great nieces, Paris, Daniel and Taylor all of CA. In addition to his parents, Tom was predeceased by his brother, Jack Gillespie; his uncle, Lloyd Scott and his aunt and uncle Marguerite and Joe Whalen.

A private funeral service will be held Tuesday, September 29 at Our Lady of Hope Church, 1 Pineswamp Road, Ipswich. Burial with military honors will be held at the Highland Cemetery at a later date. Visiting hours will be Monday 6 to 8 pm in the Whittier-Porter Funeral Home, 6 High Street, Ipswich. Family and friends attending are required to wear masks and maintain social distancing as required by current COVID-19 regulations.  Memorial contributions in his name may be made to Living Faith United Methodist Church, 31 North Main Street, Ipswich, MA 01938 or Care Dimensions, 75 Sylvan Street, B-102, Danvers, MA 01923.


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