William Royce Gillispie, one of seven children of Delbert and Fairy (Harvey) Gillispie, was born September 16, 1926 in Auburn, Nebraska. The family moved to Wyoming and Iowa in Bill’s early childhood before returning to Auburn where Bill would attend school.
On February 26, 1945, Bill entered the United States Navy. Bill served his country in the Asiatic-Pacific Theatre during World War II. On July 17, 1946, he was honorably discharged.
On April 20, 1949, Bill was united in marriage to Marcelle Henderson at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Auburn. The couple would be blessed with seven children: Rich, Mike, Cathy, Mark, Tom, Dave, and Tim.
After his discharge from the Navy, Bill returned to Auburn where he began work building levees along the Missouri River by Peru; this was the beginning of a long career with the United States Army Corps of Engineers. Bill was part of the Missouri River Division of the Corps, working out of Omaha, Yankton and Mobridge, South Dakota, and then back to Omaha, before retiring in 1985. After retiring, Bill and Marcelle moved back to Auburn where Bill drove school buses part-time for the Auburn School District.
Bill became a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Auburn shortly before his marriage to Marcelle. Bill was an active member of the church, volunteering his time to place the American Flags at the Holy Cross Cemetery for many years, a job he took very seriously. Bill enjoyed traveling in his RV, and loved taking road trips, often taking the back roads as a “short cut” that ended up being not so short. Bill also enjoyed visiting with people; he was a part of several coffee groups, meeting a couple times each day.
On February 6, 2020, Bill passed away peacefully at his home in Auburn, having reached the age of 93 years, 4 months, and 21 days. He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Marcelle, brothers Harvey, Cecil Ray, Robert, James, and sister Barbara.
Surviving are his children and spouses Rich of Cameron, MO, Mike (Mike) of Tucson, AZ, Cathy (Russ) Eads of Lenexa, KS, Mark (Lance) of Rancho Mirage, CA, Tom of Council Bluffs, IA, Dave of Council Bluffs, IA, Tim (Ann) of Urbandale, IA; 6 grandchildren; sister Velda Higgins of Newton, KS; brother-in-law Steve Henderson of Tucson, AZ; other relatives and friends.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be Friday, February 14, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Auburn. Burial of ashes will follow in Holy Cross Cemetery at Auburn. Visitation will be Friday morning at the church from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. with a Rosary being recited at 10:15 a.m.
Graveside military honors provided by American Legion Post #23 of Auburn and U.S. Navy Honors Detail.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to St. Joseph Catholic Church or MS Society.