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Obituary: Joseph Henry Gillispie

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Joseph Henry Gillispie

Joseph Gillispie passed away at home in McAllister on Nov. 2, 2022. He was with family and two beloved retrievers, Bingo and Saca.

 Joseph Henry Gillispie was born in the Falls City, Nebraska at Nebraska Hospital on Nov. 19, 1927 to parents Dr. James Charles Gillispie and Rose Mary (Redfern) Gillispie. The youngest of 4 children, Joe attended elementary school in Falls City, and often went on medical calls with his father, who was for some time the only doctor in Richardson County, Nebraska. When Joe was attended high school, he got special permission from his parents at age 17 to enlist in the Navy. On Nov. 16, 1945, Joe graduated from Hospital Corps School. Even though Joe was stationed in Pearl Harbor, he was graduated from Falls City High School in May of 1946. Joe always said his mother bribed the principal with hams so he could graduate while serving in the Navy.

After leaving the U.S. Navy, Joe attended Kansas State University and Peru State College in Peru, Nebraska, graduating in 1951. Seeking adventure, Joe signed up to work for Atlas Constructors/Morrison-Knudson in Casablanca, French Morocco. Among other duties, he ran the movie theater in the Recreation Hall. Upon returning to the U.S., Joe and Marcene McCunn were married on June 6, 1953 at St. Clair in Clarinda, Iowa. There were four children born to this union: Teresa Ann, Mary Jo, James Charles and John Joseph. Joe was a pharmaceutical representative for Carroll, Dunham Smith for two years and worked nearly 40 years for Schering-Plough (now Merck).

In June of 1983, Barbara Christensen and Joseph were married in Steamboat Springs, Colorado during a balloon festival. They traveled to Jackson, Wyoming and Big Sky, Montana on their honeymoon.  After living 10 years in Grand Island, Nebraska on the Wood River and hearing the calls of the sandhill cranes in the Spring and the Fall, Joe and Barbara moved West to the mountains of Big Sky, Montana. Their life was full of fly fishing, hunting, hiking with the Big Sky Hikers, and Joe began his woodworking hobby that later turned into artistic expression through his furniture creations. In 2015, the Gillispies made their move to the Madison Valley and their home in McAllister. At last, Joe had a great workshop, and turned to making furniture with gusto. 

One of Joe’s great joys was Fall pheasant hunting in North Dakota, with golden retrievers, Jackson and Murphy. The birds were prolific, and Joe was a great shot, and Jackson and Murphy never left a bird in the field. 

Another passion Joe enjoyed was cooking such treats as a rare roast beef with morel mushrooms. 

Joe was preceded in death by his parents, Dr. James and Rose Gillispie, siblings Margaret Shaffer, James Gillispie, Mary Jane Lang, and wife Marcene (McCunn) Gillispie. Joe is survived by his wife, Barbara, children Teresa (Scott) Stoner, Mary Jo Gillispie, James (Lisa) Gillispie, John Joseph Gillispie, 13 grandchildren, 15 great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. A special thank you to Dan & Kathy Olkowski, Judy Maddox, Cliff & Debbie Schenk for their love during this difficult time. A memorial mass will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 16 at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Ennis.  Internment will be in the Pony, Montana Valley View Cemetery with military honors in Summer 2023.

In lieu of flowers, donations are suggested to: Public Lands/Water Access Association, the Jack Creek Preserve Foundation, Caring & Sharing Food Bank, or Madison Valley Public Library. After all, nothing was more important to Joe than being outdoors, education, good food and good books.

This gentle man will be greatly missed by family and friends.

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