On February 10, 2022, David C. Gilles, 85, of West Allis, WI, transitioned from earthly life to eternal life, completing his journey of love for family and friends and faithful service to the Catholic Church to which he dedicated his professional life.
Dave was born in Alma Center, WI, the third son of Martin and Lena (Ripp) Gilles, successful Garden Valley farmers. Dave attended Alma Center Grade School, Holy Cross Seminary in LaCrosse, WI for high school and college, and St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore, MD for theological studies. Ordained to the Catholic priesthood in 1962, Dave ministered as a caring and sensitive associate pastor and dedicated high school teacher in several cities in the Diocese of LaCrosse.
He earned a Master’s Degree in Religious Education at Loyola University of Chicago and subsequently ministered in Parishes in Williston, ND, and the Dioceses of LaCrosse and Madison, WI before retiring from ministry in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, WI.
In 1974 Dave married his soul-mate, Helen (MacLaughlin) Gilles and rejoiced at the arrival of daughters Jacqueline and Stephanie. Dave enjoyed gardening and woodworking and wielded a vicious chainsaw. His favorite pastime was travelling throughout the country. In 47 years of marriage, he and Helen visited all 48 of the lower United States.
Dave loved popcorn, pickles, and the Packers, canning tomatoes and strawberry picking. His unique sense of humor made every family gathering memorable. He loved telling “Gilles jokes” even though he could never make it to the punch line without dissolving in laughter himself. He relished spending time with family and friends and his home was often the center of enjoyable gatherings.
Cherishing Dave’s memory are his wife, Helen, daughters and very special sons-in-law Jackie (Bryan) Michaels and Stephanie (Nick) Mischo. The lights of his life are his four granddaughters, Lena and Charlotte Mischo and Ava and Emma Michaels. He is further survived by his loving sister, Dolores Powers of Lyndon Station, WI; nieces and nephews, David Powers, Donna (Dan) Kuhlman, Mary Kreps, Tricia (Tom) Demmin, Steve (Lisa) Gilles, Ann Marie Thomas, Charlene (Robert) Lyon, Sara (Kari) Kraus; brothers-in law LaMoine (Mary Ellen) and Tom MacLaughlin and many more nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews, and treasured cousins.
Dave was preceded on his journey to eternal life by his parents, Martin and Lena (Ripp) Gilles, brothers Michael and Roland, brother-in-law Kieran Powers, sisters-in-law Gloria and Veronica Gilles, niece Sharon Powers, nephews Michael Thomas, Andrew and Paul Gilles and mother- and father-in-law, Helen and LaMoine MacLaughlin.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Jude the Apostle Parish, 734 Glenview Ave., Wauwatosa, WI on Wednesday, February 16, 2022 . The family will greet family and friends at the Church beginning at 10:30AM until the time of the Mass at 12:00PM. Dave’s earthly remains will journey to their final resting place in Alma Center, WI at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, if you wish please make a donation in Dave’s name to St. Jude the Apostle School, 800 Glenview Ave., Wauwatosa, WI or to a charity of your choice.
The family wishes to especially thank the sensitive and caring members of the Advocate Aurora Healthcare System: Dr. Paula Carlton, DNP; Aurora HomeCare, Theresa, Megan, Jerry, and Amy; and Aurora HospiceCare, Jackie, Jenny, Gerry , and Chiquita. We are equally grateful for the spiritual support provided by Fr. Michael Erwin, Pastor, St. Jude the Apostle Parish, and Fr. Joe Juknialis, our very special family friend.