Bernard “Bunny” Gillis was born on April 20, 1935 the son of the late Peter Paul and Emma Jane (Scott) Gillis of Washington DC. On July 1, 2015 at 10: 17 p.m., the loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, deacon, and friend, Bernard R. Gillis went to be with The Lord at Tuomey Healthcare System Hospital in Sumter, S.C. comforted by his best friend and wife, Florence.
Bernard attended Benjamin Banniker Jr. High school and graduated Cardoza High school in Washington, DC where he excelled in track, baseball and football. He married Florence Williams on July 18, 1964 in Washington, DC and fathered 5 children, Bernadette (Deceased) , Burnie, Regina, Anita and Sharon.
As a young man, Bernard enlisted in the Army on March 25, 1957 and served honorably until March 24, 1959 while assigned to Company A of the 13th Cavalry as mechanic while stationed at Ft. Polk, La. His civilian employment included: Fulford Furniture and Appliances in Washington, DC, Sunbeam Appliances in Arlington, VA, Lance Packing Company in Charlotte, NC, Seaboard Seafood Company in Charlotte, NC and ended his career by retiring from the Army Core of Engineers in Washington, DC.
He received an Associate Degree from Central Peidmont Community College and was Certified for Paint and Auto Body Repair in Charlotte, NC and also received Certification as a Blueprint Reader and Welder.
In June of 2009, while in Naples, Italy, he was ordained as a Deacon by the Hallelujah Full Gospel Church and continued to live a purpose driven life. He attended and supported various churches while living in Washington, D.C., Charlotte, N.C., Los Angeles, Calif., Naples, Italy, and Sumter, S.C. In South Carolina he served faithfully at Greater Mt. Pisgah Missionary Baptist Church as a deacon and member of the Pastor’s Aid Committee. He also serverd as a Sunday School teacher, led a team in charge of outreach to the sick and shut in of the Body of Christ and was frequently responsible for administering communion to those who were unable to come to church.
Bernard lived his life with purpose and vision. Often willing to maximize and strengthen his understanding, he often went the extra mile to study God’s Word. He lived with the goals of fulfilling his mission of serving God and of seeing his children grow up to be Godly and productive citizens.
He was preceded in death by his parents Peter Paul and Emma Jane Gillis; his brothers Peter Paul Gillis, Jr; Carl Gillis; Leroy Gillis; Clifford Gillis; George Gillis; Lawrence Gillis; and one sister Emma Gillis Swayne; his daughter Bernadette Gillis.
Bernard leaves to cherish his memories, his wife, Florence W. Gillis; one son, Burnie A. Gillis (Jenine); three daughters, Regina C. Zhu (Weilong), Anita Y. Potts (Demetric), Sharon Y. Biggers (Robert). Eleven grandchildren; Shantè Morgan (Sean); Juaron Gillis; India Gillis; Laurence M. Biggers; Jonathan M. Biggers; Courtney A. Potts; Brianna N. Potts; Reagan A. Potts; Lauren Y. Potts; Bryant A. Gillis; Michael W. Zhu. Four great grand children; Malaya Morgan; Saniah Morgan; Aubrey Gillis; Trenton Gillis. Inlaws: Bertha May Gillis; Harriett Williams; Mary Williams Harden; Mabell Williams; Dorthy Williams; Eugene Williams (Betty); Luetilda Canty (Tommie);Special nephew Carl “Sonny” B. Gillis; and Joan Gillis Butler and a host of other special nephews and nieces and friends.
He left this earth living a full life and with a clear conscious knowing that even while fighting sickness, II Corinthians 4: 14-18, which states, “Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. For which cause we faint not; but through our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For out light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”