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Obituary: Glen Chester Gillette

Glen Chester Gillette of Supply, North Carolina, passed into Heaven unexpectedly at his home on Sept. 29, 2022. Glen was named after his father, Jason Glen, and his uncle Chester, his mother's brother. From birth, he was called "Chet," until he joined the U.S. Air Force and went by "Glen." He's still "Chet" to his family and friends.

Chet was born to Jason and Ione Gillette at the home of his grandparents Aldrick and Emma Smith on March 18, 1940. He attended grade school in Scanlon's big three-classroom rural school. He was bused to Cloquet for high school, and graduated in 1958. After working a summer at Conwed, now USG, in Cloquet, he joined the U.S. Air Force. By choice, he spent two 2-year tours of duty in Okinawa. He loved serving his country, and was so proud to be part of the base rifle team. The base commander flew the team to several tournaments in Japan; Chet was so happy to be able to tell his family they brought home several trophies, another way to serve America. He left the Air Force after eight years to spend more time with his new family. He moved from the base in Orlando, Florida in 1966 to Pottstown, Pennsylvania to work for a large company as a computer programmer/repairman. It was in Pottstown that he remarried and had three children. At his adult son's invitation, he moved the family in 1995 to Supply to work with Glen Jr. in construction. They were fortunate enough to be able to start their own family construction company, and he worked there until age 67. Tongue in cheek, he said he was too old to climb ladders and carry lumber any more. He was too active to just garden, so he started working at Walmart stocking shelves. He was happy with his work and didn't permanently retire until he was 80 years old.

He enjoyed his hobbies all the while working at professional jobs. He started fishing at the tender age of 5 in a little creek about a block from his home. He'd laugh as he told of catching trout before breakfast (the DNR stocked the small creek each year) and bringing it home to Mother to fry for his meal. There were many fishing trips with family and friends during his growing up years. In 1992 he purchased his brother's big fishing boat, and enjoyed fishing the North Carolina lakes. He enjoyed fishing with his in-laws in International Falls from their houseboat on big Rainy Lake. In the summer of 2020 he purchased a camper in International Falls, to spend summers in Minnesota instead of two-week vacations. During those summers he'd share his time with his oldest sister, helping with gardening and carpentry work.

Up until his death, Chet enjoyed working on and around his house. He said it relaxed him to build a large garage and sheds, and to update the house. He also enjoyed gardening. He had trees and flowers growing around his house that would be worthy of being pictured in a magazine. He lived only a few blocks from the ocean beach. One of his greatest pleasures was to be in charge of a federally funded program to save the sea turtle. They gave him his own four-wheeler to check on their nests and safety. He would inform the onlookers (and family, too) how the turtles prepared their nests and moved their eggs when the weather was bad, and had photos of helping the babies to the ocean at birth.

His life was exemplified by his love and devotion to his God. Even in high school he was quick to take part in the services and serve where he could, even singing duets with friends. He had many hardships in his life, but said they always made him stronger in his faith. A few years ago he commented to his older sister that he thanked God at least two dozen times a day for blessings received and still coming. In spite of those problems, he never lost his sweet, gentle and loving spirit. He always had a smile for those he met through the day.

Chet was preceded in death by his beloved grandparents and parents; his 3-month-old daughter Shelly Mae; half-brothers Donald, Warren and Maurice; and half-sisters Deloras, Lorraine and Marguerite.

Chet is survived by his wife Judy; sons Glen Jr. and Troy; daughter Genee; stepchildren Stacy and Jason; grandchildren Caitlin, Madison, Molly, Jessie, Tiffany and AJ; six great-grandchildren; sisters Ona Yrjanson and Carmen Bacigalupi; and many nieces and nephews.

A Celebration of Life has been postponed until next spring. A military funeral with interment in Cloquet will be held, in accordance with his wishes.

His extended family joins in expressing the words of his daughter on Facebook: "I love you n will miss you every day, Dad, till the day God takes me."

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