Gill turns 100 on June 11
Editors’s note: The following article was written and submitted by the family of A. Walter Gill.
LEWISTOWN – Walter Gill will celebrate a milestone on June 11 that very few people reach – his 100th birthday. He will not be the only one in his family to have accomplished this feat. His brother, Frank, died nearing his 101st, and his sister has the family all-time record at 107 years old.
Born in Troxelville to Albert and Flora (Aumiller) Gill, he has many fond memories of growing up in Snyder County, playing baseball, running in the woods, and “annoying” his brother-in-law, George Ocker, who owned an auto garage.
One year, when he was still in high school, he helped his sister on their farm, when her husband was working out of town. He had to wake early to milk the cows and perform other farm chores before walking several miles to school. He likes to tell the story about plowing the fields behind horses, when he fell asleep and the horses just got to the end of the furrow and waited until he woke up.
Gill was preceded in death by four brothers and three sisters. On Dec. 21, 1941, he married Dorothy (Beckwith) Gill. She died in 2009, at the age of 96. They were married for 67 years. They had two sons, Gary and Lee. He now has six grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
When Gill was just beginning to date Dorothy, he asked his friend, Neil, who was traveling to Lewistown, and also dating Dorothy’s sister, Helen, to also bring Dorothy back to Troxelville. But Dorothy had other ideas. She said, “If he wants me, he can come get me himself.” He did, too!
Although Gill graduated from Beaver Vocational High School, during his sophomore year he and several classmates traveled to school in Middleburg in a car without windows. Part of the way, it was driven by a 15-year-old with no license. He also attended one year at Susquehanna University.
Soon after he and Dorothy were married, Gill enlisted in the Army. During World War II, he served in the Ninth Army Ordinance Department and traveled throughout Europe until reaching Germany at the conclusion of the war. He was honorably discharged in 1945 as a first lieutenant. Later, during the Korean Conflict, he was called up and served stateside in California, and in Munich, Germany.
After the war, he worked for Albert Showers as a plumber. In 1957, he began working for the Mifflin County School District as superintendent of buildings and grounds, retiring in 1976. In retirement, he and Dorothy twice traveled around the country, visiting all the natural wonder and historic sites.
An open house celebration will be held in his honor from 1 to 4 p.m. on June 8 at 1132 W. Fifth St., Lewistown. Light refreshments will be served; do not bring gifts.