Gillis, Eileen 89, of Antigonish, passed away peacefully on Christmas day surrounded by family. She was born in Fairmont, the sixth of 11 children of Hugh A. and Maggie Anne MacDonald. At the age of 18 she married her great love John Alex Gillis and together they nurtured a legacy of kindness, generosity, and love. Over the years they warmly invited many into their Brookland Street home and lives; Eileen had a special gift of making everyone feel welcome as a part of the family. She was a woman of great faith and a member of Catholic Women’s League for more than 60 years. She was one of the first women managers of Eaton's Catalogue Sales Office and worked at the local store until its closure in 1976. She then worked as a PCW at the R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home until her retirement. Eileen was a talented gardener who created many beautiful gardens. She loved flowers, and the balance and serenity of nature. She had a radiant and playful smile that lit up the room and warmed the heart.
Eileen was devoted to her family and friends and gave fully of herself in everything she did. She took great pride in her children, grandchildren, and great grandchild. She enthusiastically supported them all in their academic or extracurricular activities. She was looking forward to the imminent birth of 2 more great grandchildren.
Eileen imparted the most important blessings you can give: words that encourage, hands that help, and a heart that loves unconditionally. She was truly a unique individual who was able to live these words throughout her life. She was a remarkable woman: kind, hardworking, determined, resourceful, dependable and generous. She provided love, humour, support, and encouragement for her children and her grandchildren. In doing so she nurtured a strong sense of family encouraging her grandchildren to develop strong relationships that make them more like siblings rather than cousins.
She will never be forgotten. Her spirit and legacy are imbedded in her family. She will be remembered wherever we hear a hearty laugh or see in them her beautiful eyes and smile. We will hear her in a witty line. We will see her when we look at a beautiful flower, or when leaves are raked and piled. We will see her when we watch a sporting event, especially hockey. We will see her whenever we see anybody overcome adversity. We will see her when we see acts of kindness.
She lived her life with the admirable traits of being able to see the best, overcome the worst and to enjoy life to its fullest. Sow seeds of kindness and you will have a perpetual harvest. She has sown the seeds, and we are all the better for this; we are her best garden.
She was predeceased by her husband John Alex Gillis (1997); three cherished children Allan (1951) Myra (1955) Elaine (1964); her parents and parents in law, and siblings Roderick, Francis, Mary Kay (late Des) Chabot, Eugene, Rev. Bernard A., Billy (late Jessie) and Lucy Perdigao.
She is survived by her children Deborah Gillis (Ron McIsaac) Bedford, Bernie Gillis (Georgina Decoste) Antigonish, Andrea Gillis ( David Murray) Halifax, Myrna Gillis (Geri Casey) Glen Haven and grandchildren Christena McIsaac (Brad Olsen) Halifax, Ian McIsaac (Stephanie George) Winnipeg and Truro , Elizabeth McIsaac (Dr. Ian R. Macdonald) Halifax, Kyle Gillis Halifax, Erin Gillis, Bedford, Jeremy Gillis (Jensyn Doyle) Halifax, Adrian Murray (Laura Geddes) London Ontario, Moira Murray Toronto, and Ben Gillis Halifax and great grandson Gavin Murray. Also survived by siblings Betty Conroy (late Bill) Cohasset Mass, Valeta Perdigao (late Manuel) Cohasset Mass and John "Farmer" MacDonald (late Pat) Camino Island, Washington. She is also survived by sisters-in-law Martha MacDonald (late Eugene) Lakevale , and Maggie MacDonald(late Francis) and brother in law Alex Perdigao (late Lucy) Center Harbor, N.H. and her many nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be Friday December 28, from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 at MacIsaac Funeral Home, Antigonish, NS. A Mass celebrating Eileen’s life will held on Saturday December 29 at 1 pm at St. Ninian's Cathedral, Antigonish, Nova Scotia. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Society in Eileen’s memory.