Dec. 1, 1917 — July 22, 2013
John Robert Gilles passed away peacefully at home in El Dorado Hills, Calif., on Monday, July 22, 2013, at the age of 95. A memorial mass will be held at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in El Dorado Hills on Saturday, July 27, at 10:30 a.m. A rosary service will be held Friday evening, July 26, at 6 p.m., at Green Valley Mortuary, in Rescue, Calif. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be directed to Snowline Hospice or Holy Trinity Knight of Columbus Council 12394. Details can be found at greenvalleymortuary.com.
John Robert Gilles was born in Waterloo, Iowa, on Dec. 1, 1917. He was the only son of John William “Mike” Gilles and Elizabeth Ann “Bessie” Doyle Gilles. He attended St. Mary’s Grade School and High School in Waterloo. After high school, he attended Northern Iowa College and transferred to Iowa State University, where he graduated with a degree in General Engineering in 1942.
John’s first job as an engineer was with Lockheed Aircraft Corporation during the war years and he moved to Los Angeles, living in Hollywood at the time. Later, he was hired by Gilfillan Brothers as a radar engineer but soon moved on to working as a mechanical engineer with Comstock Engineering, where he designed conveyor systems. He later became president and owner of the company.
He met Dolores Lenz of Condé, S.D., in Los Angeles in 1946 and they married on Sept. 14, 1946. In 1950 John and his wife moved to Arcadia, Calif., into a suburban house that John designed himself. Making their home in Arcadia for some 40 years, that is where they raised their three sons. During those years, he actively supported his sons in sports programs like Little League baseball, as well as frequent family backpacking and camping trips.
Upon retirement in 1989, John and Dolores relocated to northern California and settled in Placerville for 10 years and then moved to Cameron Park for another 14 years. Over the years they shared many interests, including traveling in their motor home, hiking, square and round dancing and bridge, as well as John’s household projects and his fond attention to his garden and yard.
Former members of St. Patrick Parish in Placerville, John and Dolores later joined Holy Trinity Catholic Parish in El Dorado Hills, where they served as Parish Greeters at the church as well as volunteers with SHARE. John was a member of the Knights of Columbus for many years and was installed as a Fourth Degree Knight in 2010.
He is survived by Dolores, his loving wife of 67 years; and their three sons, James Gilles of Los Angeles, Calif., Dr. William Gilles and his spouse, Raydeen Gilles of Camino, Calif., and their four daughters, and Michael Gilles and his spouse, Claudia Gilles of El Dorado Hills, and their two sons. He will be dearly missed by family and friends.