Stephen Alexander Gilles 1926 - 2016 UTICA - Stephen Alexander Gilles, born December 12, 1926, in Syracuse, NY, to Stephen and Gertrude (Caldbeck) Gilles, died peacefully at his home in Utica, NY, on Tuesday, October 11, 2016, with his wife and family by his side. A graduate of St. Mary's School in Fulton, NY, a Life Scout, and a Fulton High School valedictorian, Steve attended Cornell University as part of the Navy V-12 Program, was graduated from the United States Naval Academy, and studied Civil Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. A lifelong student of history, he received the Naval Academy History Prize for the Class of 1949. A member of Mobile Construction Battalion 6, he loved his country ardently and served in North Africa, Newfoundland, Cuba, and stateside, stations including Rhode Island, Georgia, and Washington, DC, and then for many years in the Naval Reserve, as the Commanding Officer of the Utica Seabees Division 3-31 of Reserve Mobile Construction Battalion 19. In 1953, Steve married the love of his life, Irene Murphy, of Newport, RI. After working briefly for General Electric, he began his 53 year career with Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance. Steve was a Chartered Life Underwriter, a Chartered Financial Planner, a member of the Million Dollar Roundtable, and the President/Owner of L.A. Stewart Associates, specializing in pensions. He served on the Boards of Blue Cross/Blue Shield, the House of The Good Shepherd, Commercial Travelers, US Materials Handling, and St. Elizabeth's School of Nursing. He was a long-standing member of the Utica Rotary Club (and a Paul Harris Fellow), of the Fort Schuyler Club, and of the Debonair Club. He was predeceased by his sister, Mary E. Gilles. A most devoted husband and father, he is survived by his wife of 63 years, Rena, and their seven children: Stephen (Laurie Feldman) of West Hartford, CT, Mary (Daniel) Atwood of Woodstock, CT, Irene (Robert) Bowers of Virginia Beach, VA, Martha (Brian) Boyle of New Hartford, NY, Timothy (Jennene Mildenhall) of Melbourne, Australia, Joanne (David Hermann) of Jakarta, Indonesia, and Trudy (Nicholas) Sheldon of New Hartford, NY; as well as by twenty-seven beloved grandchildren: Daniel, Emmett, Marguerite, Carol, Eve and Isaac Gilles, Matt (Anne) Atwood, Steve (Claire) Atwood, Tom (Lexi) Atwood, Tim, Mary, Zachary and Katie Atwood, Christopher (HyunJeung) Bowers, Brendan (Stephanie) Bowers, Molly, Judy, Michael, Reenie and Sam Bowers, Molly (Jack) Brady, Maddie and John Boyle, Alex and Batleen Hermann, and Michael and Brendan Sheldon; and by twelve great-grandchildren: Peter and William Atwood, Paul, Teresa and Marian Atwood, Gabriel Atwood, James, Brian and Daniel Bowers, and Kate, Anna and Alexandra Bowers. Blessed with many gifts of mind and person, Steve was still more notable for his virtues: irreproachable honesty, exemplary courage and altruism, legendary generosity, tenacious loyalty, the warmest hospitality, an irrepressible sense of fun, and an adherence to the Catholic faith which shaped his entire life. A daily communicant for decades and a devoted member of the Nocturnal Adoration Society, he belonged to Our Lady of Lourdes Parish for many years and in later life to St. John the Evangelist Parish. The family wishes to thank all who so attentively cared for Steve in recent years, including Dr. Kevin McCormick, Oxford Homecare, and Hospice Care. In memory of Steve, you may wish to contribute to the Sisters of St. Francis of Tiffin, 200 St. Francis Ave., Tiffin, OH 44883 at www.tiffinfranciscans.org or Food for the Poor, 6401 Lyons Road, Coconut Creek, FL 33073 at www.foodforthepoor.org . Calling hours will be Sunday, October 16, from 2-5 p.m. at Dimbleby, Friedel, Williams & Edmunds Funeral Home, 13 Oxford Road, New Hartford. The funeral will be on Monday, October 17, at 10 a.m. at St. John the Evangelist Church, 66 Oxford Road, New Hartford. Online messages of sympathy may be left at www.dfwefh.com .
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