STEPHEN­SON, Gillis Fraser

Cape Breton Post - - Obituaries -

Gillis Fraser Stephen­son, 80, passed away on Au­gust 4, 2017 at his home in Leomin­ster, MA, sur­rounded by fam­ily and friends.

He leaves be­hind his lov­ing wife, Ju­dith Stephen­son (MacKin­lay); daugh­ter, Karen Audette and hus­band, Steve (Con­cord, MA); son, Lloyd and wife, Chris­tine (Springfield, VA), and son, Gary and wife, Cyn­thia (Con­cord, MA). He was the beloved grand­fa­ther to Ger­ald, Ken­zie and An­dre Audette, Craig, Lau­ren Ep­sos­ito, Colin, Dun­can, Clark, and great-grand­son, Tommy Audette.

Born Jan­uary 31, 1937 in Syd­ney, NS, Canada to Ed­ward Al­lan Stephen­son and Dorothy Stephen­son (Gillis) he was one of ten chil­dren, brother to Robert ‘Bo’, Sheila Macleod, Bar­bara Meara, Donna Ha­siuk.

Pre­de­ceased by sib­lings, Eleanor MacQueen, Jean Camp­bell, Mar­ion MacKeigan, John ‘Jack’ and San­dra. He was an en­er­getic and cu­ri­ous child (read be­tween the lines) and leg­ends of his ad­ven­tur­ous child­hood amused his fam­ily over the years.

Across the dance floor on May 18, 1956 Gillis spot­ted the love of his life, Judy and they danced. Even though they were mar­ried in June, it was May 18 that they cel­e­brated. Few cou­ples have a mar­riage as strong and as en­dur­ing. Their com­mit­ment and joy with each other was in­spir­ing.

Gillis built their home in Syd­ney while he worked for the Syd­ney-Louis­bourg Rail­road. In the early 1960s they em­i­grated to Con­cord, MA and he worked many years for the elec­tron­ics firm GenRad. Dur­ing this time Gillis shared his life­time love of ice hockey by found­ing the Con­cord-Carlisle Youth Hockey pro­gram. He was a most en­cour­ag­ing coach and in­spired count­less young skaters. Many for­mer play­ers fondly re­mem­ber him as their fa­vorite coach.

Gillis lived life to the fullest, loved a good joke, west­ern movies (knew the di­a­logue by heart), crib­bage, or­ga­niz­ing par­ties and vol­ley­ball tour­na­ments, danc­ing and ice skat­ing (not in that or­der). He vol­un­teered from his ear­li­est teens on, coach­ing, and as camp coun­selor for un­der-priv­i­leged chil­dren. He was a true cham­pion for those who had less.

Ev­ery free week­end when his chil­dren were young, he packed up the camper and off the fam­ily went, rain or shine on ad­ven­tures near and far. The high­light of fam­ily camp­ing was a trip across the US and Canada. Later when his chil­dren were mar­ried, noth­ing gave him more plea­sure than to sit at the head of ta­ble at fam­ily gath­er­ings en­joy­ing good food, telling sto­ries, and end­ing the day with a fine cigar.

Although he lived with Mul­ti­ple Scle­ro­sis for over 30 years, he never once com­plained. Never. He kept his spir­its up and amazed ev­ery­one around him with his pos­i­tive at­ti­tude. He will be missed by his dear friend and care­giver of over 26 years, Miguel Sanchez (Fitch­burg, MA).

He was an or­di­nary yet ex­tra­or­di­nary man. He was a per­son whom ev­ery­one wanted to be around. His sense of hu­mor, com­pas­sion and pride in his fam­ily help us un­der­stand that it is life’s small de­tails and the con­nec­tions and love we share that make a life great.

On Satur­day, Septem­ber 30, 2017, a vis­i­ta­tion will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., fol­lowed by a memo­rial ser­vice at 1 p.m. in the Dee Fu­neral Home, 27 Bed­ford St., Con­cord, MA.

In lieu of flow­ers please con­sider a do­na­tion to MS So­ci­ety:

na­tionalmsso­ci­­ters/MAM/Do­nate Or by mail: Greater New Eng­land MS, 101A First Ave., Waltham, MA 02451.

To share a re­mem­brance or to send a con­do­lence in his on­line guest­book, please visit www.dee­fu­ner­al­

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