Palm Beach Gardens, FL — Bob Gillis died on December 24, 2012, at the Palm Beach Medical Center in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. He was the husband of Pauline (Marquis) Gillis and was born November 29, 1928, in Detroit, Michigan, to the late John and Winifred Gillis.
Bob grew up on Simon Street in Beverly, Ma., one of twelve children. Early on he worked as a pin setter at the local bowling alley (he was Beverly City Bowling Champion for 5 consecutive years in the 1950’s) and at United Shoe Golf Club. After graduating high school in 1946 Bob enlisted in the Army and was sent to Germany where he was stationed in Nuremburg during the famous war trials.
After being honorably discharged, Bob knew he wanted to get into the golf business. After a short return stint at United Shoe, he landed his first job as an assistant golf pro at Oak Hill Country Club in Fitchburg, Ma. From there he became a head pro at Intervale Golf Club in Manchester, NH, where he gave a golf lesson to Pauly, who became his wife and mother of their six children. Bob took his next head pro job at Concord Country Club in New Hampshire, then landed his dream job in 1957 at Bass Rocks Golf Club in Gloucester, Ma., where he served until his and Pauly’s retirement in 1993.
Legions of people share fond memories of their time at Bass Rocks during Bob and Pauly’s tenure. Bob taught the game the way it was supposed to be played and was a stickler for the rules of golf. He helped people feel welcome and always strived to make sure a lone golfer was matched up with others. He and Pauly ran great tournaments and made lifelong friends through “The Club.” For many years he shared the course record at Bass Rocks with a score of 63, and as a pro, had 2 holes-in-one, but none at Bass Rocks. After he retired, he recorded his first two holes-in-one at Bass Rocks ON THE SAME WEEKEND. Bob served as Secretary/Treasurer of the New England PGA from 1964-1970, was voted NEPGA Pro of the Year in 1970, and was elected to the NEPGA Hall of Fame in 2000.
Bob said many times that if he had it all to do over again, he wouldn’t change a thing. He continued working as a starter, ranger, or wherever needed at PGA National Golf Club until recently.
In addition to his wife, Bob is survived by six children, Stephen and wife Betty, and Robert Jr. and wife Patricia of Gloucester, Michael and wife Maryke of Middlesex, Vermont, Daniel and wife Zoe of Amherst, NH, Missy and husband Shayne Kintzel of Golden, Colorado, and Maureen and husband John Collins of Gloucester; 13 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren, four sisters and three brothers, Elizabeth Chartier of Tequesta, Florida, Virginia Leary of Amelia Island, Florida, Elaine Hiltunen of Peabody, Ma., and Ann Laferriere of Topsfield, Ma., John Gillis and Thomas Gillis of Beverly, and William Gillis of Salisbury, Ma. He was predeceased by sisters Margaret Wildes, and Helen Egan, brothers Donald Gillis and James Gillis.
ARRANGEMENTS: There will be a memorial gathering to be announced at a later date. Contributions in his memory may be made to Hospice of Palm Beach, 5300 East Avenue, West Palm Beach, FL 33407, or to NEPGA George S Wemyss Scholarship Fund, Attn Joan Stuart, PO Box 743, Boylston, MA 01505.