Dean Franklin 'Gil' Gilliland

Dean Franklin 'Gil' Gilliland

Dean Franklin “Gil” Gilliland, 79, of Hermiston passed away October 4, 2013, at his home embraced by his wife and four children, after a battle with cancer.

He leaves his wife of 43 years, Marilyn; son Michael Gilliland (Karin); daughters Sandy Wise (Stu Warner), Chelle Hankinson (Jimmy) and Deana Cordell (Kevin); grandchildren April, Mychal, Marcus, KayLeigh, Zachary, William, Jordan, Saraya, James, Michael, Daniel, Mykah, Johnathan and Riley; and great-grandson Peyton. He was preceded in death by grandson Randy Wise.

Gil was born in Sigourney, Iowa, in 1933. He served in Korea in the Marine Corps. After his discharge, he found himself in many different states working in various trades from beekeeper and aircraft welder to blackjack and poker dealer. He also worked with a geophysical group for the Anaconda Company for many years.

He met Marilyn in 1967 and they were married February 6, 1970. After owning and operating nightclubs in Butte, Montana, and Denver, Colorado, and spending a short time in North Platte, Nebraska, Gil and Marilyn found their home in Hermiston in 1976. In 1977 they opened and operated the Day Light Donut Shop and Game Room. The game room was a place of comfort for the youth of the community and Gil made lifelong friendships with many who gathered there.

In 1980 Gil founded Gilliland Construction. There are many buildings and homes throughout Hermiston and the surrounding area that have been touched by his hands. Over the years he also performed many projects for Good Shepherd Medical Center, one of which was a remodel project in the new Cancer Treatment Wing where he received his chemotherapy treatments. In 2007 his son took over the business; however, Gil didn’t understand what retirement meant and continued to be involved in the business throughout the remainder of his life. His work ethic was unmatched.

Gil was a member of the Elks since 1974, an active member of the Booster Club and volunteered his time and talents on many occasions for various community groups and activities. He loved being outdoors and you could find him on his patio enjoying the sunshine and watching the birds.

Most of all Gil loved his family. He often said, “Family is everything,” and he portrayed that in every way he lived his life with the love and constant support he had for his wife, children and grandchildren. He enjoyed the family surprise BBQ gatherings, watching his children and grandchildren play bocce ball and talk about their lives. He rarely missed a sporting, musical or school event of his children’s and later his grandchildren’s. For many years you would find him leaning against the fence cheering on the next swimmer; and most recently he was seen lounging in a lawn chair rooting on the family softball team. His family was his life and he lived every moment for them.

He will be missed the same way he lived his life ... with great love and passion.

Remembrances may be sent in his memory to the Hermiston Booster Club c/o Hermiston High School, 600 S. First St., Hermiston, OR 97838.

Services will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, October 12, 2013, at Burns Mortuary chapel, Hermiston, Ore. A reception will follow at the Elks Lodge, 480 E. Main St., Hermiston.

Please sign the condolence book at

Burns Mortuary of Hermiston, Oregon, is in care of arrangements.

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