Obituary of Robert Gila Jr.
Bob Gila passed away in Hollister on May 5, 2018 at the age of 84. He was born in Hollister to Bob and Josephine Gila. He attended Sacred Heart School and served as an altar boy at Sacred Heart Church. At San Benito High he was a fullback on the 1951 football team that went undefeated. After high school graduation Bob was one of eight young men from Hollister who enlisted in the U.S. Air Force on July 4, 1951. He was trained as an air control tower operator and was stationed in Japan during the Korean War. He often said that his years in Japan were the best days of his life. He expressed a deep appreciation to the U.S. Air Force for its library at Itazuke Air Force base where he found the time to engross himself in the writings of O.Henry, Zane Grey, Upton Sinclair, and Sinclair Lewis.
After his discharge from military service, Bob attended community college in Hollister for one year, followed by a year at Fresno State University. He went on to work for thirty years as a letter carrier for the U.S. Post Office in Fresno, from which he retired in 1988. After retirement he returned to Hollister where he lived the remainder of his life. For years he was a volunteer gardener at Immaculate Conception Church in Tres Pinos where he tended the roses and planted over 3,000 daffodil bulbs.
Bob was a kind, humorous, and wise man. He faced many challenges in his life but never lost an essential goodness that was deeply rooted in him.
Some of his wisdom:
- “I always laugh when people say money talks. How much do you need?”
- “I told her [a friend] that God was a little kid.”
- “I’ll have God as my co-pilot in heaven.”
- “Saw Audie Murphy’s life on TV. I understand why he had a 45 gun under his pillow most of his life. Tragic what war does. Sometimes you’re in places you can never lose.”
- “Glad I don’t own anything…just own yourself. That’s enough for one lifetime.”
- “You don’t miss much as you’re going no place. Maybe you’re already there.”
- “I told him [a friend] that once a week I light a candle at Tres Pinos just to remember where the light comes from.”
Bob is survived by his sister, Ann Gila, and first cousins Marilyn Martin, Dave Gila, Steve Gila, Phil Parodi, Gene Parodi, and Donald Parodi.
Friends are invited to join the family on Tuesday, May 15th at 12:00 noon at Calvary Cemetery, 1100 Hillcrest Road in Hollister. Military honors will be provided by local VFW Post 9242