John E. Gillen age 67 of Topeka, KS passed peacefully on March 4, 2019 at Stormont-Vail Hospital in Topeka.
He was born on June 28, 1951 to Clifford “Jocko” & Norma (Horning) Gillen in Smith Center, KS. He was raised south of Gaylord, KS. John went to Gaylord High School until his Junior Year when the high school closed. He then went to Alton High School for his Senior year and graduated in 1969. During his Senior year, his basketball team competed at State and he ran the mile at State. He holds some high school records in track that will never be broken. (Oh, by the way, these records will never be broken because the Alton High School has closed.)
In 1971, he married Wanda Hansen and to this union were born a son Jonathan “Eric” Gillen and daughter Heather Sue Gillen. John lived in Hays until 1973 and then moved to Osborne where he started his law enforcement career as an undersheriff until 1975. He then moved to Lawrence where he was employed by the State of Kansas Alcohol Beverage Control. He moved to Baldwin in 1978. In 1986, he was promoted to Field Supervisor for ABC and moved to Silver Lake where his two kids graduated from Silver Lake High School. During this time he also finished two degrees; one from Barton County JUCO College and the other from Washburn University in Criminal Justice. After his divorce, he moved to Topeka.
John’s passion in life was fishing, especially in Port Aransas, Texas, where he spent many years traveling back and forth with his friends. He also loved to hunt in the area he was raised in Smith County with his family and friends. He and some special friends loved a Fourth of July celebration in Topeka every year.
John’s main affection and dedication was to his grandchildren from babysitting and spending almost every day with them to watching every sporting event he could attend.
John was preceded in death by his parents.
John is survived by his two children Eric Gillen and wife (Monica) of Silver Lake, KS and Heather Sims and husband (Chris) of Mayetta, KS and his special companion Janet Shepard of Topeka, KS.
Grandchildren missing John dearly are Payton, Preston and Parker Gillen of Silver Lake and Olivia, Lucas, and Lawton of Mayetta, KS.
John is also survived by his sister Sheila (Randy) Schenk, brother, Marvin (Connie) Gillen and sister, Marlene (Steve) Murphy, all of Smith Center, KS.
He will also be remembered by his numerous nieces and nephews and his lifelong friends.
Memorial services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 9, 2019 at Evangelical Free Church in Smith Center. Inurnment will be in the Gaylord Cemetery in Gaylord, KS.
Memorial contributions may be made to Midwest Transplant Network, 1900 W 47th Pl # 400, Mission, KS 66205. https://www.mwtn.org/get-involved/monetary-donations/
Dove Southwest Chapel is assisting with arrangements.
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