Obituaries

Joseph J. Gillis

July 6th, 2020

Joseph J. Gillis “Joe”, age 57, of Wilmington, formerly of Saugus, passed away peacefully at home on July 3, 2020, with his loving family at his side.

Joe was born on January 21, 1963, in Melrose, MA; he was the cherished son of Toni and the late Jon Gillis. Joe was raised and educated in Saugus, MA. He was a graduate of Saugus High School in 1981, where he excelled in football, basketball and baseball and made many life-long friends. Joe went on to further his education at Westfield State College where he studied business and continued his athletic career by playing football.

Joe was the beloved husband of Andrea (Nardone) Gillis, devoted father of Carlyn Rose Gillis, Delaney Jane Gillis-Foley & her husband Trevor and Jackson Kennedy Gillis all of Wilmington. Cherished son of Toni (Coviello) and the late Jon Gillis of Saugus, dear brother of Leah Gillis and Jonna Moses & her fiance Don Tapley all of Peabody. Nephew of Benny Coviello of Saugus. Joe was also very special to his in-laws Terri & Brian Day, Norma Nardone, Diane McDonough, as well as many others. He is further survived by many nieces and nephews including; Jon, Dan and Bonnie Griffin of Peabody MA, Ryan, Samantha, Brady and Adam Day of Hampstead, NH, his three loving dogs Harry, Hank, and Reno, and many, many friends.

In June of 1991, Joe married his best friend and love Andrea Nardone; the couple lived in Saugus for a short time before making their home in Wilmington where they raised three wonderful children; Carlyn, Delaney and Jackson. Joe showered his family with unconditional love and support and he beamed with pride as he spoke of their accomplishments including his daughter Carly’s college graduation and pursuit of working with children at the SHED School. On June 27th he had the wonderful opportunity to share in his daughter Delaney’s wedding to Trevor Foley of Wilmington in a beautiful backyard wedding. Joe enjoyed watching all sports and he particularly enjoyed watching his children excel athletically. Most recently Joe cherished his time watching Jackson play baseball at Vanderbilt University, win the National championship in 2019 and get drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers.

Joe looked forward to the time he spent with his family, nothing brought him greater joy. He loved to travel, most recently to Nashville, Phoenix, Reno and Orlando. Some of his best times were spent with family in Dennis Port, Cape Cod at his family’s vacation home.

At the time of his death, Joe, was employed as a Sales Manager for the I Robot Company in Bedford MA. Joe’s vast knowledge of his field and his endearing personality made him quite a success throughout the years as well as making many lifelong friends.

Joe will be fondly remembered as soft spoken to the outside world and outgoing with his inner circle of family and friends. Joe was loyal, dependable and always there to lend a hand. Joe welcomed everyone with an amazing smile that lit up the room. Joe was a great guy who touched many people during his lifetime; he will forever be loved and missed by all who knew him.

Family and friends will gather for a Celebration of Joe’s Life on Saturday, July 11th at 10:00 a.m. in the Nichols Funeral Home, 187 Middlesex Ave. (Rte. 62), Wilmington. Visiting Hours will take place in the Funeral Home on Friday, July 10th from 4:00-8:00 p.m. Joe’s wish is for all to come brightly dressed or your favorite Vandy Boys or Brewers fan wear with your favorite uplifting story or memory of him; let’s celebrate a Life Well Lived!

In lieu of flowers, donations in Joe’s memory may be made to the Jimmy Fund, c/o Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, P. O. Box 849168. Boston, MA 02284-9168.

Due to the current situation with the corona virus all are required to wear a mask while in the Funeral Home. www.nicholsfuneralhome.com

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27 Entries in Guest Book for “Joseph J. Gillis”

  1. Joe Mullin says:

    To the Family of Joe, from a friend at work…

    I am truly sorry for your loss, a shared loss.

    I met Joe when he started at iRobot and honestly thought- here’s a great guy, loves sports, loves Baseball so very much……but most of all I thought what a great Dad; he clearly LOVES his kids, his wife, his family.

    He always had a smile on for you, then a bigger smile when you were done talking. You would never have really known about the BIG challenge in his life, as you felt better having talked to Joe.

    His style-and he really had a great one- was to always ask about the things he understood meant so much to you.

    We would then engage in further discussing the state of the Union, the State of Robotics, the folks we work with and for, the Cape, Cape Cod Baseball, family plans, things we planned to do to make our wives smile.

    We talked about everything and talked a lot about hope. Hope was the tomorrow we got when we survived the day before.

    We talked about the hope for our kids, our retirement years, about extended families.

    In retrospect, his hopes were simple. Keep the counts in a range, take every treatment, pill, etc. as a part of the price to see the kids happy, doing what he hoped they would already want to do.

    This guy I worked with- he loved talking to you; you felt it, looked forward to it and hoped to do it again right after you finished the talk you just had.

    This guy I worked with, he was a friend, a kind, quietly proud man-(unless you were at the field and umps were not calling strikes) who knew many things but especially strength. He was SO strong, in and out.

    Many years ago, W. B. Yeats said “think where man’s glory both begins and ends, and say my glory was I had such friends”.

    Joe Gillis was the epitome of those whom Yeats referred to.

    He was a gentleman. He was a friend.

    I will carry some of Joe Gillis in my heart forever.

    I hope to see you soon and share this loss with you.

    Joe M

  2. Walter Buzz Beede says:

    The single greatest friend anyone could ever ask for. Truly so many life altering moments shared with Joe over 30+ years. I , as I quite certain all of Joe’s friends/family will miss his smile and handshakes/hugs! His spirt will be kept alive by all of us ! Joe was the ultimate husband and father and every level! He lived his life with one purpose for his friends and purpose W.I.T = Whatever It Took , he would genuinely and sincerely do!

    “ Life is a true gift , filled with joys and sorrows.
    It seems like a never ending journey until we run out of tomorrow’s!”

    RIP Mr Gillis…. We WILL cross paths again my dear friend!”
    Mill Dog Crew for eternity

  3. Dawn Prestone says:

    A beautiful soul. I was just the little sister of one of his friends but he was a sweet person and a joy to be around. I wish I’d known Joe in my adult life. 20 years of run- ins and how are you’s…… God Bless his family and friends. My heart is with you.

  4. Maryann Callahan says:

    Dear Gillis Family,
    My heart aches when I think about your loss. Joe was an amazing person, cherished colleague and friend. Over our years together at iRobot, we shared lots of laughter and countless stories about our children. He was a very proud Dad! Joe was a man who inspired me by his genuine love and care for his family. He was a kind, generous man, whose smile lit up the room! I’m so lucky to have had a chance to know him. Someone so special will never be forgotten. I will sadly miss him. My prayers are with your family at this painful time. May he rest in peace. Maryann

  5. Robin Christine Kellow says:

    I am sorry for your loss and my thoughts and prayers are with you

  6. Rob Driscoll says:

    Dear Gillis Family,
    I am so sorry for your loss. I’ve known Joe for a little over 4 years since I first met him at iRobot and I can honestly say that I am a better person for it. He was an example of how to listen (genuinely), put other’s first, and most importantly keep things in perspective.

    Being a Wilmington resident and having kids who are active in sports, Joe and I had a lot of shared experiences. He was always the first person to ask about my kids team(s), news about Wilmington Little League, coaching, etc.. He would listen to me complain with a smile on his face and remind me to enjoy this time with my kids.

    I’ll miss seeing him in the office, I’ll miss my almost daily chats about baseball, I’ll miss seeing his truck slow down as he drove by rotary field, but mostly I’ll miss seeing Joe glow with pride when he talked about his family.

    My best to you and the entire Gillis family. RIP Joe…

  7. Dawn O'Connell says:

    My deepest condolences to the Gillis family. I had the pleasure of working with Joe at TomTom. He was a kind and genuine soul. . He always had a smile on his face. It didn’t matter how his day was going. You could truly tell how much he loved his family in our conversations we used to have. He was so supportive to everyone. He never thought about himself. Joe you will be truly missed. RIP my friend.

  8. Rocky Makooi says:

    Joe is loved by “everyone”. Such a proud dad, a great friend, and a colleague; would take time to genuinely listen and ask how you’re doing and share his stories mostly around his family and kids. Miss him terribly; he won’t be forgotten. Sending our condolences; all of our love and support to his great family! So very sorry for your loss! xx …

  9. Spike Bloom says:

    I worked with Joe for many years at TomTom. He was one of the nicest, funniest, rock solid, calm under pressure people I have ever known. His heart was huge. I’ve enjoyed following his posts on Facebook and especially those regarding Jackson’s years and success at Vanderbilt. He was there every step of the way and obviously enjoyed and was proud of every minute of it. This is a loss of one of the truly great ones. RIP!

  10. Laura Cervantes says:

    Rest in peace, Joe, and love and support to your family. You made everything and everyone around you better, and we were lucky to know you.

  11. Pattie Healey Fields says:

    My deepest condolences to Andrea and family,
    May your precious memories bring a smile to your broken heart if only for a moment.

  12. Dave Servos says:

    Joe was an incredible person with such a kind heart and always sporting a big smile. When I worked at iRobot, I did not work out of the Bedford office, so one of the biggest highlights of my trips there was to see and really catch up with Joe. He was one of the people who interviewed me and right from the start I knew this was a guy I would enjoying being with and wanting to call a friend.
    Joe was honest, smart and funny. He was so very proud of all his family and would talk about them often.
    Joe has such a genuine soul and it is a huge loss to this world, at a time when we need more people like him in it. He will forever be missed and remembered.
    Tonight as I am looking over some great photos of us together, I am having a drink in his honour, as I can’t cross the border to be there in person.
    May you rest in peace Joe and I send my thoughts to all his family and friends during this time, as they work mend the big hole that is left behind from such a great man.

  13. Frank D'Urso says:

    This is entirely heartbreaking. Joe was a friend since 1969 at the “Little Red School House”. Playing against him in little league or basketball was like playing against an adult, he was a serious competitor. We were teammates on Fall ‘80 Sachems Football, he was solid and steadfast teammate and friend. I remember Saugus was a special place and Joe was one of the kids who looked out for others. My condolences to Leah who I’ve known almost as long and all the Gillis family. I will always remember Joe fondly and I’m rooting for Jackson and the Brewers for sure!

  14. Frank West says:

    To the Gillis family- Karen, Colleen, Frank Jr and I offer our deepest sympathies on the loss of Joe. Joe was a great guy and really was proud of his family. May God bless Joe and his family now and always!

  15. Jay Bortzfield says:

    My heart goes out to the entire Gillis family. I met Joe about 7 years ago when I started with iRobot. He was actually the second person I met there as he was part of the interview process. We hit it off immediately. Joe, as everyone who meets him knows, has such a calming presence and easy going demeanor. He was a colleague and a friend. We talked often, and it he was always most proud when talking about his family and the time he was able to spend with them. Whether it was the latest trip to the Cape, following the Vandy baseball team around, or even just quiet weekends at home, it didn’t matter…it was the time together that he loved. My two kids are still in grade school, but every time we talked he always wanted to know how we were doing and reminded me to enjoy every minute because they grow up so fast and you have to soak it all in. I wish we ALL had more time with Joe because he naturally brought out the best in us. He will be missed terribly, but never be forgotten!

  16. Paula Reed says:

    I have only known Joe for a few months, but he made an impression right away. The first thing I think of when I think of Joe was his great smile! I can only imagine the heartache his family is going through during this difficult time. My thoughts and prayers to all of his family and friends. Rest in Peace Joe.

  17. Frankie Redding says:

    I had the pleasure of working with Joe at iRobot. He quickly became so much more than a co-worker, he was a true friend and confidant. Joe was one of the most beloved iRobot employees. He was always willing to lend a helping hand, provide guidance and support, and just be the rational voice that so many of us needed. Joe really understood the importance of living every day to it’s fullest – something I plan to remember and practice.

    To Joe’s family – please never doubt his love for each and every one of you. His greatest gift was having you in his life – YOU helped make him the person that we all respect and love. Thank you for sharing this wonderful man with the rest of us.

  18. Scott Elsey says:

    My deepest condolences to the entire Gillis family. May you find peace and healing with the wonderful memories of Joe that I am confident all of you have.

    I had the distinct pleasure of working with Joe at TomTom. Joe was the best – always upbeat, always the straight shooter, always doing what was “best for the business” and he really was a great person to have on our team. Truthfully, I wish my career had more Joe’s in it but that is impossible because Joe was truly unique and special.

    Joe and I have not worked together for years but I look back on our time together very fondly and have only good memories of him. I am better for having had Joe as part of my business career.

    As I read some of the other comments written about Joe, I was glad my memories were similar to others. I am happy many experienced the great guy that Joe was.

    Rest in peace, Joe.

  19. Kathleen Addison says:

    Our thoughts and prayers surround all of you, Joe’s family. Perhaps you can hear our protest to heaven…too soon; much too soon! Perhaps you can feel the embrace of love across the miles that my family extends to you all. I always called him Joey; my godson; the most precious first newborn I held in my arms and babysat for on Bristow Street. I never knew a more precocious, kind child and his death really is much too soon. “If tears could build a stairway and memory a lane, I’d walk right up to heaven and bring you back again.” Love Kathy, Marc, Peter (Amy), Lincoln (Christina), John-Luke (Michelle)

  20. Jose Valles says:

    Gillis Family
    I am so sorry for your loss. I miss him to.
    I know this is hard but like you will tell me, I want to remember jor for all the great things that he brought to our friendship. Joe was more tha a co-worker to me and I am really glad that I had the pleasure to meet him 6 years ago and work side x side on all the iRobot crazy projects. But aside of that, all the great text and calls outside of work to see how he was doing, how the family was doing and how the Collegue world series was going. I was the only crazy person trying to face time him during the final game to try to be there with him and celebrate together. I will remeber him for been a great father, great family men, a person that went to everything in life as “there are no problems, only solutions”, Big Bear kind of guys that was always smiling no matter what was happening specially what was happening with him :-( . I will miss him a lot and I am so sorry that it went this fast and is unfair that he left, but he is resting now. Again sorry for your loss and I wish I will be able to be there next to you and the family and say the last so long we will see you later instead of goodbye. Thanks you for your last text on June 3 I will keep it for ever. Love you Gillis Family and so long Joe…..
    Jose Valles

  21. Margarita Collado says:

    Dear Gillis family,
    You were loved by this incredible man. I had the pleasure of working with him at TomTom and followed him to iRobot. He was great at his work but he was more amazing as a friend and human. We all loved hearing his stories and how much he cherished each of you. He was instantly special and I always told him I was sending magic fairy pixie dust to help him through his tough days. It was especially weird and it made him laugh. That made me happy.
    He will be missed by so many. Rest In Peace, dear amazing crazy funny loving Joe!

  22. Samantha O’Neill says:

    To the Gillis family, I am so sorry for your loss. I worked with Joe at TomTom years ago. He was such an amazing person. He would always have a smile on his face and would always keep you laughing. We both went to Westfield State College and had great conversations about college. My deepest sympathies to all of you. May Joe Rest In Peace.

  23. Al McQuarrie says:

    My deepest condolences to the Gillis Family. Joe was a great person and will be missed by many. I have always respected and admired Joe from a young age. We met when we played little league baseball together for the Tigers and we won the majors championship when we were 12 years old. Joe played 1st base – he was the tallest guy on the team and he was really good, always playing with heart and a smile. He carried that smile and his special way about him throughout high school and beyond. He was a special person and I am thankful for knowing him. God bless you Joe and may you rest in peace.

  24. Sara McKillop says:

    My deepest condolences to the Gillis Family.
    Joe was my manager at iRobot. At the interview he immediately made me feel comfortable (which is hard to do with my social anxiety!) I don’t even remember if we talked about the job, but we just chatted about family and the best restaurants in the area since I had just moved to his side of town. His managing style was laid and flexible back as well, always encouraging work life balance. I’ll remember Joe for making me feel seen, heard, and not judged. His beautiful soul lives on and I feel very lucky to have know him in this lifetime.

  25. Patti Newman says:

    My sincere condolences to Joe’s family for the loss of this gentle man. I had the pleasure of working with Joe at TomTom for a few years before he made his way to iRobot. He was always helpful to me, and I learned so much from him. May God give you strength and help heal your broken hearts.

  26. Maurice Leacock says:

    So sorry for your loss; No matter the situation we could always count on Joe for a warm smile, a friendly laugh or a kind word. Joe was one if those people that made going to work fun. Rest In Peace, Joe.

  27. David Emma says:

    First, my condolences to Joe’s family for the loss of this kind guy. I have known Joe since 1st day 1st grade. I can honestly say that he never changed from that day forward. He was always a, to me, tall guy that was gentle, kind and smiled. I saw Joe a little over a year ago and he had that same smile and kind demeanor. I am sad that such a kind soul has passed at a young age. Rest in peace Joe!

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