Barbara Claire Gillis, 81, of Lancaster passed away on September 12, 2022 at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health, following a stroke. She was the loving wife of Dan E. Gillis to whom she was married for 56 years. Born in Lancaster, she was the daughter of the late Edward F. and Alice J. (Phetteplace) Jaeger.
After graduating from Lancaster Country Day School, Barbara attended Russell Sage College in Troy, NY, and received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business in 1962.
By nature, Barbara was very adventurous and loved traveling the world. She enjoyed learning about the history and experiencing the cultures of other countries. She adored life and had a joyous spirit and an infectious smile that could be felt by all who met her. She lived in Tokyo for 4 1/2 years and traveled all over southeast Asia following her husband’s appointment as Armstrong’s Manager of Japan and South Korea. In her final year there she was President of the 300 + member College Women’s Association of Japan, devoted to providing study abroad scholarships and mentoring to deserving young Japanese women. They were then posted to England for 3 years. She delighted in living there and in actively supporting various worthy causes through her club work.
Barbara’s patriotism and philanthropic nature is evident by her membership and involvement in organizations such as: Rock Ford (board member); Junior League of Lancaster, and 8 genealogical organizations including: Daughters of the American Revolution, The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America; and the General Society of Mayflower Descendants. The Donegal Chapter of DAR recognized her exceptional accomplishments as Regent by naming her Honorary Chapter Regent, only the fifth to receive this honor in the Chapter’s 125-year history.
She spent the final years of her professional career as an Executive Assistant working passionately with the Milton Hershey School’s upper management to support growth, development and education of less fortunate children.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by two sisters-in-law: Elizabeth P. Jaeger of Lancaster and Linda G. Averette, and her husband James of Zebulon, NC. and two brothers-in-law: Raymond Douglas Gillis and his wife Marsha of Charlotte, NC. and Earl Bradford Gillis and his wife Karen of Columbia, NC. She was preceded in death by her brother, Edward Phetteplace Jaeger.
From childhood until recently, Barbara enjoyed many happy days at the family’s summer home on beautiful South Pond in Brookfield, Massachusetts. Her ashes will be scattered there.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend a memorial service at DeBord Snyder Funeral Home & Crematory, 141 E. Orange Street, Lancaster, PA 17602 on Thursday, September 22, 2022 at 11:00 AM. Friends may greet the family from 10:00 AM until the time of the service.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in her memory. Checks payable to Donegal Witness Tree DAR may be sent to 317 W. Lemon Street, Lancaster, PA 17603. To leave an online condolence for the family, please visit: www.DeBordSnyder.com
Christyn Olmstead says
Barb was a wonderful loving woman who always had a smile for everyone. I will miss her greatly. I looked forward to seeing Barb at PA DAR events and they will not be the same without her. My thoughts and prayers are with her family. Please know you do not mourn alone. I will stand proudly in tribute when her name is read at our memorial service April 2023. She was one of the good ones. May the support of family and friends bring you comfort and may the loving presence of God bring you peace.
Brenda Dorsey says
I am so heart broken to hear of Barb’s passing. She was always so gracious to me. I loved her spirit and laughter. Hugs to you and your family as Bill and I send our condolences.
Charlotte Mark says
I am devastated by this sad news. Barbara was a stalwart member of Penn’s Grant Chapter Colonial Dames of the 17th Century and the most profound Chaplain I’ve ever known in my years of membership. She literally held the chapter together over several years with her wit and passion for history. I will miss her profoundly at every meeting going forth.
Dave Haught says
So very sorry to learn of Barbara’s passing. Although I knew her for just a few months, I was always impressed by her drive to always do better. She was a special lady who set a great example for all of us. Linda and I offer our deepest condolences to you and the Gillis family. May she rest in eternal peace.
Carol A Viergutz says
Dear Dan and Family,
My sincere condolences for the loss of such a wonderful, vibrant person! Barbara was one of the first people to welcome me into the Donegal DAR Chapter. Her smile was infectious and her warmth made you feel so welcomed. Even when I moved to Arizona to help out with my elderly father for the last four years of his life, I remained a member of the Chapter and made sure to attend the winter luncheon. She’d greet me with a smile and warm hug. I moved back to PA and Barb was happy I returned. I will miss her very much.
You will all remain in my thoughts and prayers. May her memories help you keep her close in your hearts. God bless you all with His Peace and Comfort.
Cindy Mercer says
My condolences to Barbara’s family. I knew Barbara from Donegal Witness Tree DAR Chapter. I will miss her at DAR events.
Alace and Jim Humphreville says
We are very saddened to read of the passing of Barbara Gillis. Our sympathy and condolences to her family whom we have known since 1959. Our thoughts and best wishes are with them.
Alace and Jim Humphreville
Nadia and Sasha Gorlenkov says
Oh, dear Dan,
We just heard this very sad news of Barbara’s passing from our neighbor David.
It is very hard to fathom that Barbara is no longer with us, that we will never hear her energetic voice, her sparkling humor. Unbelievable, unexpected loss. We mourn with you.
Sasha and Nadia
Lois Murr says
Dan and family,
I was privileged to work with Barb in the 80’s at ISC. She was a joy to be around and always had a smile and an uplifting word for everyone. Please accept my sincere condolences.
Olga Zalmanova says
Me and Alex are so sorry to hear of Barb’s passing.
We loved her spirit, her smile and laughter.
May her memory help you keep her close to your heart.
Our condolences to you.
Olga and Alex
Carolyn Holt says
What a celebration of Barbara…..she was one of a kind and obviusly, loved and admired by many.
The words spoken, the thoughts shared…the minister’s guidance, all pointed to a person that, as you said so well, embraced living life…to its fullest.
God bless the days ahead, indeed.
Kathy Ashworth says
As I drove away from Historic Rock Ford two weeks ago, I was overcome by the realization that I will not be driving there again with Barbara – such a cheerful, smiling companion who listened to rambling stories of family and neighbors, laughing as we traveled. Her smile brought joy to all who came within its range! Her friendship was a gift, and I am saddened by her loss.
As my father would have said, may you feel peace as you remember your life together.
Ann Carter says
Barbara was the salt of the earth, and a true light of the world! She, her smile, and her good works will remain in my heart always. May God bless you, Dan, with His comforting grace. This is certainly a community’s great loss, but it most assuredly is heaven’s gain.