George Leland Gilman
May 8, 1939 - November 30, 2016
George Gilman passed away November 30, 2016. His favorite quote was "Proceed until Apprehended." Leukemia apprehended him two months after his diagnosis.
George was born May 8, 1939 to Lester and Leila Gilman in Portland, Oregon and lived his entire life in the Rogue Valley. George attended Howard School. He and his best friend, Warren Straus chose to attend Crater High School on the basis of which team won the Medford High vs. Crater High football game. Crater won! At Crater he was active in FFA, serving as district treasurer, receiving the Star Farmer Degree, and participated in parliamentary procedure. He then attended Oregon State University, majoring in Dairy Husbandry. When it became necessary to return home to tend to the family dairy farm he milked cows in the morning and attended college in the afternoon, receiving his bachelor of science from Southern Oregon College with honors. While at SOC (now SOU) he was a recipient of a National Science Foundation grant for study of the Mount Ashland watershed.
Following his grandfather's and father's footsteps as dairy farmers, George spent 26 years in the industry. Leaving the dairy in 1986 he ran for the Oregon State legislature and represented District 50 in the 1987 - '89 session. Returning from Salem he was employed by ACCESS, Inc. working to prevent homelessness, providing job counseling, and providing medical care to those in need. He was subsequently employed by Pacific Retirement Services where he spent the next 11 years managing the Foster Grandparent program, which allowed limited-income seniors to volunteer in classrooms helping teachers and at-risk children in three southern Oregon counties.
In 2002 George chose to run for the Oregon legislature again. Newly created House District 55 embodied values he held dear - agriculture, natural resources, and hard-working people. He retired from office in 2011.
George valued public service and was chairman of the Oregon Dairy Products Commission, Oregon Community Service Commission, Oregon Beef Council, Rogue Community College Board, Rogue Valley Transit Board, Quail Point Rotary, Jackson County Farm Bureau, Southern Oregon Drug Awareness, Jackson County Public Private Partnership, Southern Oregon Swim Association, 549C Teen Parent Advisory Committee, Jackson County Republican Central Committee, Oregon Coalition of Community Non-Profits, and Southern Oregon Production Credit Association. He also served on the Addictions Recovery Center Board, the State Lands Advisory Committee, Governor's Commission on Senior Services, Oregon Community College Association, 12th District Farm Credit Board, and Southern Oregon Alumni Association Board.
George was named a Jaycees Outstanding Young Man of Oregon and received the Oregon Dairyman's Association State Community Service Award.
George was a private pilot and combined his love of flying with business meetings, taking someone for a ride, or just "going out to the patch to do some touch-and-goes." Through Rotary he belonged to the International Federation of Flying Rotarians and met many others with the same passion for being in the sky.
He was a true Beaver-believer and five days before his passing wore his Beaver tee-shirt while watching the Civil War Game at home. Thanks to John Watt for the video of friends celebrating the game - George wanted to be there celebrating with you.
George loved people . . . always had a smile and was willing to listen to all sides of an issue without judgement. He had incredible patience. Life was always a "learning experience." Sometimes we really disliked hearing that phrase. But he was right.
When asked what he would do in retirement George would say, "Rock babies," which he did at OnTrack's Mom's Program. Then another baby came into his life - great-granddaughter, Jocelyn, and he rocked her while in the hospital and at home before his passing.
Easing the transition into death, we were blessed to have representatives of the Music Thanatology Program play harp and sing to him both at OHSU and Asante Rogue Regional hospitals. Music Thanatologist and granddaughter, Sara brought the same music into our home and hearts.
George's family was able to be with him the entire two months of his courageous battle with leukemia. Chris took him on wheelchair rides late nights at OHSU and RRMC when his discomfort was too great. Teresa held his hand night after night and brought him black licorice ice cream and Chinese food. Thomas would fly in from Seattle on his days off to sit at his bedside.
George is survived by his wife of 57 years, Sandy; children, Christopher and Teresa; grandchildren, Thomas and Sara; great-granddaughter, Jocelyn; and sister, Susan. He was preceded in death by his brother, Richard.
A celebration of life is planned for next year. George said he wanted a party and we will have one! The family suggests contributions in his memory to Asante Foundation in support of Music Thanatology at 2600 Siskiyou Blvd., Ste 100, Medford, Ore. 97504 or the OnTrack Mom's program, 3397 Delta Waters Road, Medford, Ore. 97504.
We miss you Poppie!