Robert's Story

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Bob Gilmore passed from this life on Monday, January 2, 2017 at Stillwater Medical Center at the age of 91. He was born on August 18, 1925 in Tulsa to parents James Harvey Gilmore and Velma May (Goforth) Gilmore. Growing up in Tulsa, he was involved in Boy Scouts and achieved the top rank of Eagle Scout. Bob attended Will Rogers High School in Tulsa, and was in the first graduating class to go all the way through the newly built school. Involved in varsity swimming and French horn playing, this academic achiever was chosen to take courses at the University of Tulsa during his senior year of high school. After graduating in 1943, he joined the United States Navy. His early training included being sent to several locations and attending both SMU and Georgia Tech for a semester each. His final assignment was on the USS Fulton, a submarine tender, based in Guam. During a leave back home, he met the love of his life on a blind date set up by friends. He and Mary Lee Jenkins wrote letters to each other during the war, dated and were engaged after the war, and got married in 1947. Mary Lee left the love letters behind with her children before she died in 2001 after 54 years of marriage.

Returning to the University of Tulsa after the war, Bob graduated with a Geophysical Engineering degree. His first job was in Minot, North Dakota as a member of a seismograph team. He and Mary Lee moved back to Tulsa for the birth of their daughter, Gayle in 1950, and he began a 36-year career with Southwestern Bell. In 1951, he was transferred to Oklahoma City, and two years later, Robert James Gilmore Jr. was born. They remained in Oklahoma City for many years. Bob used to tell people of his life in OKC, "We had more fun there than anyone had a right to!"

Bob Gilmore was a great husband, father, uncle, grandfather, and friend to many people. He gave freely of his time and love to family and friends. He was very involved with his children, serving as little league coach, Scout Master, and Algebra tutor, as well as passionately celebrating with his children, grandchildren and nieces and nephews at their milestones and accomplishments. When Bob Jr. moved to Palmer Alaska in 1978, it opened another chapter that was full of many family trips, lots of exploration, and welcoming their beloved daughter-in-law, Gina into the family. Bob even spent two glorious summers in the Palmer-Wasilla valley after Mary Lee died, helping design and build Bobby and Gina's dream home and taking pilot training courses. He loved flying in Bob Jr's airplanes on tours of Alaskan wildlife, landforms, and glaciers. He enjoyed numerous salmon and halibut fishing trips, and he once joined Bob Jr. and friend Henry on a moose hunting trip. Bob trained for this trip months ahead, knowing what a physical challenge it would be.

In 2003, Bob met a very special friend named Bee Hilborne. They spent nearly every day together for 7 years, enjoying day trips to museums, musical performances, restaurants throughout the state, and spending time with each other's families until Bee's death in 2009. In 2011, he took a very memorable trip to Ireland and Scotland with Gayle. They met granddaughter Laura there where she was just finishing her summer school in Dublin. They were able to attend her last class and afterward take a tour of James Joyce's haunts in Dublin. Also in 2011. Bob met and married Maggie Quinlan when he was 86, and spent 4 years with her, enjoying their horses and learning all about ranch life. One week and 3 days before he died, he met and spent time with his first great-granddaughter, Ellis James Bevan. He couldn't say enough about how wonderful that visit was. He wept tears of joy, saying "Who would ever want to miss spending time with her?" She seemed to love him the minute she was placed in his arms.

Bob was predeceased by his parents, wife Mary Lee Gilmore, his sister Carol Lee Nelson, and his son, Bob Gilmore. Survivors include wife, Maggie, daughter Gayle Hensch (and her husband Phil), daughter-in law Gina Gilmore, grandchildren Daniel Hensch (and his love Becca Sites), Laura Hensch, Babette Bevan (and her husband Landon), Garrett Gilmore (and his wife Dana) , great grandchild, Ellis, numerous nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews.

His services will be at Stillwater Bible Church (7617 W. 6th Ave., Stillwater OK 74074), on Saturday, February 25, at 2:00. Please wear colorful clothing to help us celebrate his life. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Stillwater Bible Church Building Fund in Bob's name at above address.
Published on February 21, 2017
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