On September 13, 2022, Donald Gillespie passed into peace.  Donald was born to Mary Elizabeth and James Bernard Gillespie on October 15, 1933, in Camden, New Jersey. 

He is survived by his son: James Gillespie; his grandchildren: Ryan, Terri, and Laura Gillespie; his niece: Linda; nephew: Bill and their families; his close friend: Joe Berarducci and family. He joins his beloved wife Gail, his parents, sister Sue West, son Bill and daughter in-law Beth Gillespie who preceded him in death. 

In life he grew from a Jersey boy to graduate from the University of Pennsylvania. After joining the Navy, he decided to transfer to the Air Force allowing him to fly his favorite planes–especially the KB50. As he traveled the world, he was able to visit exotic locales; stationed in places like Yokota, Japan, Sondrestrom, Greenland, and even flying special missions to Antarctica via Christchurch, New Zealand. He had a dedicated career as a navigator for the Air Force with over 8000 hours in the air and served through the Korean and Vietnam Wars with 118 combat missions. After over twenty years of service, he retired as a Major Master Navigator in 1973. 

In 1956, Don married his wife Gail after meeting her while she was visiting family in Charleston, South Carolina. They went on to have two sons who enjoyed growing up as global citizens. With his wife Gail and sons, Bill and Jim, they settled in Colorado Springs where they opened Western Décor, a prosperous painting business (harkening back to his successful snowball business at age 7). Colorado Springs was chosen for the family’s love of skiing and outdoors. An avid skier with a love of sports, Don could always be found on the slopes in winter or during summer in the pool, on the golf course or basketball court. Don remained active well into his 70’s, always enjoying Breckenridge. He watched his sons grow up on the slopes, and some of his favorite memories as a grandpa were teaching his three grandchildren to ski and trouncing them in bridge with Gail, his partner of fifty-five wonderful years.

The family is planning a future, private celebration of his life. 

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This Obituary Has 2 Condolences

  1. The Buckley SFB military Retiree Activities Office (RAO) would like to offer our sincere condolences and our gratitude for Maj Gillespie’s distinguished service to our country in the Navy and Air Force. If you would like help with any matters related to casualty assistance, Defense Finance & Accounting Service, Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP), Veterans Affairs (VA), etc. you can contact our office on Buckley SFB at 720-847-6693 or raobuckley@gmail.com. The RAO is staffed by volunteers, all military retirees themselves, and our sole purpose is to provide assistance to any military retirees and surviving spouses/family members with anything related to their military service and/or benefits, in particular during difficult times such as this. We are deeply sorry for your loss.

    Steve Young
    Lt Col, USAF, Ret
    Director, Buckley SFB RAO

  2. You will be forever missed Grandpa. Fly high with the Angels.

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