Obituary for Thomas Gillman
Thomas Waterbury Gillman passed away on Saturday, October 27, 2018, at his home in Boise, Idaho. He is survived by his daughters, Karen McGinty and Kelly Gillman; his ex-wife, Carol Gillman; his grandchildren, Kristen, Chloe, and Connor McGinty; his youngest sister, Sharon (Rex) Dugan; nieces Dawn, Robin, and Kathy; and nephews JR and Kurt. He was preceded in death by his older sister, Pat Zillgitt, and his parents, Thomas B. Gillman and Gloria Waterbury. No public service will be held, but his remains will be interred in the Cloverdale cremation garden in Boise.
Tom was born in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, on August 1, 1946. His mother, who raised Tom and his sisters alone, passed away when Tom was a teenager. He eventually settled in Miami, Florida, where he met and married Carol while he served in the Air Force. The two divorced years later but remained part of each other's lives, coming together for family holidays every year with the kids and grandkids and supporting each other when needed.
Their first daughter, Karen, was born in 1971, and Kelly was born in 1975. In 1979, the family moved to Boise, Idaho, to reconnect with Tom's father and to provide a better quality of life for the girls. This move proved permanent; the family still lived in Boise at the time of Tom's death. Tom instilled a love of knowledge and a natural curiosity in his daughters, raising them to be readers and lifelong trivia buffs like himself. He wanted to learn everything there was to learn in the world.
Tom attended Notre Dame and the University of Miami before graduating from Florida International University. Though his degree was in marketing, Tom spent most of his career as a computer programmer, first for the Idaho Department of Transportation and later for St. Alphonsus. Tom was passionate about electronics, particularly computers, and had enough spare parts scattered around his home to build several. When his granddaughter, Chloe, was being born, he was just as fascinated by the technology in the hospital room as he was by the people in it and excitedly watched her on the ultrasound machine. He was also an avid gamer and loved talking to his children and grandchildren—particularly his grandson, Connor—about video games and consoles. On several occasions, he even grouped with his daughters, son-in-law, and granddaughter Kristen to play World of Warcraft together.
Tom was creative; he spent years learning to play the guitar and enjoyed cross stitch and weaving. He even bought himself a standing loom and wove blankets for friends and family.
Few things made Tom happier than visiting his sister's family, either at their home in Indiana or their boat in Florida. He adored his nieces and nephew and always came back home talking nonstop about everything that was happening with Sharon, Rex, Dawn, Robin, and JR.
Other things that made Tom happy: road trips (solo or with a companion), Jack in the Box (he should have bought stock in it), the Seattle Mariners (Go M's!), dragons (he collected them), tattoos (he was covered in them), pie (a slice of each kind, please), a good fantasy novel (we suspect he was a Ravenclaw), and knowing more about something than you (which was often true, though not as often as he thought).
Tom joined Alcoholics Anonymous in 1974 and remained active with the group on various levels for decades, even sponsoring other members. AA became a lifelong part of Tom's support network, and he maintained his sobriety for the rest of his life—nearly 45 years. Tom was not religious, but he did keep plaques and posters with the Serenity Prayer throughout his house.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
Tom, Dad, Grandpa… You will be missed by all of us who loved you.