Deacon Silas Ernest Wakefield Gillespie Jr.

Published 5:40 pm Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Deacon Silas Ernest Wakefield Gillespie Jr. was born Oct. 6, 1930, in Columbus, Ohio to the late Silas Sr. and Lena Canty Gillespie.

Tragically, Mother Lena was called to be with the Lord leaving behind four children ages 11 months to seven years, Silas Jr., the eldest. Silas Sr. relocated his family to Sumter, South Carolina to enlist family members to help raise his children. A few years later the family relocated to Brooklyn, New York. There he was educated, received his GED, served in the U. S. Army, 82nd Division of the 555 Airborne, fondly called “The Triple Nickle’s”, the first black paratroopers in the U. S. Army. Silas was proud to be a member of that elite group.

After the U.S. Army, Silas, on a G.I. Bill, completed two years of college and became a “master dry cleaner”, spending thirty-six years in the dry-cleaning field operating his own business. During this time, he met and married Marie Kearney, his beloved wife of sixty-three years. Upon retiring to Buckingham, he established New Miracle Window Cleaning, where he served residential and commercial customers for twenty-two years.

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A lifelong devoted Christian servant, Gillespie was an ordained elder in Brooklyn (Siloam Presbyterian Church) and after relocating united with Fork Union Baptist Church, where he was ordained a Deacon in 1998.

He was a substitute teacher and mentor in the local high school during his retirement. During his active years, he established a Christian Chess Club for boys and re-activated a Cub Scout Troop. His greatest joy was serving communion to the sick and shut-in. Gillespie loved people and being a Servant of God.

He was predeceased by brother, James (Millicent) and sisters, Allie Vee Douglas (John) and Minta Lou Walker (Solly).

He leaves cherished memories to his loving wife, Marie; his son, Rodney Silas; daughter, Joi Seleste; grandchildren, Zachary, Kharis and Sterlynn Gillespie; great grandchildren, Eden and Hunter Phillips; goddaughter, Minta Romelle Walker; nieces, nephews, many other relatives and friends. Special thanks to caregivers, Hope Patterson, Kaleigh Garrett, Diane Payne and Betty Salisbury.

In the favorite words of Silas, “Thank God”, letting others know how much he loved and thanked God.

Funeral service took place on Nov. 23, at 1 p.m., at Fork Union Baptist Church, Buckingham. Interment was in the church cemetery.

V.Y. Scott Funeral Home served the family.