August 23, 1931 – April 2, 2022
James Richard (Dick) Gillespie passed away at Royal Oak Village on April 2, 2022, at the age of 90 with his family at his side. Dick was born in Oyen, Alberta on August 23, 1931, the seventh of eight children, to Robert (Bob) and Lucy Katherine (Cross) Gillespie. After surviving the depression, the family moved to Leedale, Alberta and later to a farm in the Bluffton area, where he attended Blindman Valley School. After graduating high school, Dick took a job at the Lacombe Research Station, where he remained until his retirement as Operations Manager in 1986 after 37 years of service. He was active on the Police Commission Board, as well as with the Kinsmen / K40 where he was awarded Kinsmen of the Year.
He coached both boys’ and girls’ hockey and supported the annual Lacombe Music Festival and Fiddlers Jamboree. He supported his three daughters’ and two granddaughters’ participation in competitive ringette – tirelessly driving across the province in wintery conditions to cheer them on and proudly joined them for several trips to ringette nationals. Throughout his life, Dick remained a proud and active member of the Lacombe community.
In 1959, through the Kinsmen affiliation, Dick met Sylvia, a young British nurse who had newly arrived in town. It was a love at first sight that lasted his lifetime. Dick proposed on the first day of spring and the couple were married on October 1, 1960. They went on to build a home in Lacombe and Dick was quickly (and happily) outnumbered, with 3 daughters. Apart from his family, Dick’s passions included gardening where he was famous for his tomatoes and corn, jiving with Sylvia and, after his retirement, golf and curling.
Dick is survived by his loving wife Sylvia, daughters Anne (Cathy Over) and granddaughter Lauren; Janet Hardy (Paul) and grandchildren Clarke and Hilary; and Lynn (Rocco Salera) and grandsons Christopher and Robert (Erica) and great granddaughter Olivia; his baby sister Mary Makara (Doug) and numerous nieces and nephews.
As per his request, no funeral is planned. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Lacombe Music Festival (www.lacombemusicfest.com/support-us).
Condolences may be made by visiting www.wilsonsfuneralchapel.ca
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