William Shelton ”Dobie” Gillis

Published 4:11 pm Monday, October 9, 2023

William Shelton ”Dobie” Gillis, 80, of Germantown, TN, passed away on October 7, 2023.

Born on March 11, 1943 in Clarksdale, MS and raised in Batesville, MS, Dobie was a graduate of the University of Mississippi, where he was a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity. He served in the Mississippi Army National Guard, settled in Memphis, TN, and married the love of his life, Jeanne Cromwell Gillis, with whom he raised three sons.

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Trained as an accountant, he moved into the heavy equipment business and retired from Thompson Machinery after a long career. He was committed to serving his community, and he held active leadership roles in the Boy Scouts for fifteen years, and the Memphis Emmaus community, for which he served as Lay Director and Chairman of the Board. A lifelong United Methodist, Dobie was a longtime member of Asbury United Methodist Church, where he sang baritone in the choir, and a current member of Germantown United Methodist Church.

He would start the day singing, filling any room with his exuberant personality and faithful heart. He was also the first to crack a joke, and his mischievous personality and the twinkle in his eye made everyone love him. Family was incredibly important to him, and it wasn’t defined by blood. He was a second dad to many of his sons’ friends, and sometimes even Dad #1. His happiness was a conscious choice and he never complained, even during the trials of his final months. He will be remembered for his faith, integrity, and for giving the best hugs.

Dobie had multiple sanctuaries – in the church, at the lake, and in the woods. Some of the things he loved best can be summed up in the three goals for his recovery that he shared with his doctor after he suffered a stroke in 2012: to play golf, to go hunting, and to sing again in the choir. More than all these (we think!), he loved his family. He was preceded in death by his parents, W.C. and Elsie Shelton Gillis, and his son, Clayton Cromwell Gillis.

He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Jeanne Cromwell Gillis of Germantown, son Christopher Blann Gillis of Germantown, son William Shelton Gillis, Jr. and son-in-law Jeremy Pittman of Washington, DC.

A visitation will be held Wednesday, October 11 from 5:00 PM until 7:00 PM, at Memphis Funeral Home, 5599 Poplar Ave, Memphis, TN 38119.  A second visitation will occur Thursday, October 12 from 10:00 AM until the funeral service at 11:00 AM, at Germantown United Methodist Church, 2331 South Germantown Road, Germantown, TN 38138.   A graveside committal service will follow on Thursday at 2:00 PM, at Batesville Magnolia Cemetery, 289 US Highway 51 South, Batesville, MS 38606.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Truth Seekers Fellowship, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Germantown UMC, or to the charity of your choice.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.MemphisFuneralPoplar.com for the Gillis family.