John M. Gillis
John M. Gillis, age 91, former Quincy City Clerk and Norfolk County Commissioner, died peacefully, Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at Hancock Park Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Quincy, after a brief illness.
He was born in Boston on May 16, 1925 to the late Jack and Nora (Kineavy) Gillis. He was raised in Quincy Point. John was a graduate of the former Adams Elementary School, the former Point Junior High School, and Quincy High School, Class of 1943. He was a lifelong resident of Quincy.
John was proud to have served in the United States Marine Corps during World War II. He enlisted on July 27, 1943, attained the rank of Corporal, and earned an honorable discharge on April 16, 1946. During that time he served in the Asiatic Pacific Theater.
Following his military service, he was appointed to the Quincy Fire Department but ultimately chose to further his education under the G.I. Bill, earning a degree in accounting from Northeastern University in 1953.
John served as a state auditor for four years before becoming Quincy’s Assistant City Clerk in 1957. In 1959, he was elected by the Quincy City Council as City Clerk, becoming the first Democrat to serve in that capacity. He went on to become the City’s longest tenured City Clerk, resigning on October 19, 1992 after 33 years of service, spanning the administrations of seven mayors.
John truly loved his job and had a unique talent for connecting and helping people from all walks of life.
Following his retirement from the City Clerk’s Office, John was elected Norfolk County Commissioner in 1992. He won re-election five times, retiring in 2015, at the age of 90, after 23 years of service to the county.
He was a member of the Quincy Lodge of Elks, Cyril P. Morrisette American Legion Post #294, George F. Bryan VFW Post #613, and William R. Caddy Marine Corps Detachment #124. John was also a member of the Quincy Democratic City Committee, Quincy Veterans Council, and Knights of Columbus.
John was honored in 2011 with the Henry W. Bosworth, Jr. Memorial Citizenship Award, named for his late childhood friend and longtime Quincy Sun publisher. He was also a member of the Quincy High School Football and Baseball Halls of Fame.
He enjoyed gardening and spending time at his summer home in Falmouth for many years. John was dedicated to his family and especially to his grandchildren and great grandchildren, supporting all their activities and accomplishments.
Beloved husband for 60 years of the late Violet M. (Johnson) Gillis.
Devoted father of Pamela J. DeGennaro and her husband Peter of Weymouth, the late Mark S. Gillis, Sr. and his wife Diane of Hanson.
Loving grandfather of Mark S. Gillis, Jr. and his wife Tenny of Abington, Lauren Barbagallo and her husband Sebastian of Milton, Derek DeGennaro and his wife Lindsay of Milton.
Cherished great grandfather of Landon, Olive, and Nolan.
Brother of the late Edward A. Gillis, MA State Police and his late wife Anne. John is also survived by several nieces and nephews.
Funeral from the Sweeney Brothers Home for Funerals, 1 Independence Avenue, Quincy, Monday, May 1st, at 9 a.m. Funeral Mass in Saint John the Baptist Church, 44 School Street, Quincy at 10 o’clock. Relatives and friends are invited to attend. Visiting Hours at the funeral home on Sunday 2 – 6 p.m. Interment with military honors in Mount Wollaston Cemetery.
For those who wish, donations in John’s memory may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105 or to the Salvation Army, 6 Baxter Street, Quincy, MA 02169.
You are invited to visit www.thesweeneybrothers.com or call 617-472-6344.