This obituary originally appeared on O’Neill Hayes Funeral Home.
Marshall William Gillette, 93, passed away on Monday, August 24th, 2020. He was the beloved husband of Mary Jean Gillette, his wife of 69 years.
Marshall was born on October 8th, 1926 in Cabool, Missouri to Gladys and James Francis (Frank) Gillette, the sixth of eight children. He grew up on a farm on Dardenne Island, in the Mississippi River north of St. Louis, where he and his brothers and sisters rowed across the river every day to a one-room schoolhouse. As a young man, he traveled to Idaho with his brother to try his hand as a lumberjack.
Marshall served as a signalman in the US Navy aboard the attack transport Crescent City in the Pacific theater of World War II. After his service, he attended Central Methodist College. He was employed by McDonnell Aircraft, where he worked on the Mercury and Gemini space capsule programs and had the honor of meeting President John F. Kennedy.
Accepting a position with Raytheon brought Marshall and his family to Newport RI, where he lived the remainder of his life. Marshall was a fixture of the Newport community, where he was an usher at St. Mary’s Parish for decades, a lifetime member of the Knights of Columbus, and a local small business owner. In his “retirement” he worked for many years for the Newport Preservation Society giving tours at the renowned Newport mansions.
Marshall was a kind, generous, and principled man, always ready with a smile, a song, and an opinion, and he will be missed by all. Besides his wife Jean, he is survived by his sister Joanie of Troy, MO; his children Marsha (spouse Sean McGuirk) of Warwick RI, Paula of North Kingstown RI, Mary (spouse John Mecray, deceased) of Jamestown RI, Timothy of Exeter RI, Linda (spouse John Edick) of Middletown RI, and Teresa of Long Beach CA; as well as 8 grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.
Visiting hours will be held Thursday, August 27, 2020 from 4:00pm -7:00pm in the O’Neill-Hayes Funeral Home, 465 Spring St, Newport. A Mass of Christian burial will be held Friday, August 28, 2020 at 10:00am, in St. Mary’s Church, Spring St, Newport. A private burial with military honors will follow at the RI Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Exeter, RI.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Marshall’s memory may be made to American Heart Association by visiting www.heart.org/donate,American Cancer Society by visiting www.cancer.org/involved/donate, or to RI Right to Life www.rirtl.org
Due to the current restrictions, guests will be allowed into the funeral home and church as space allows, masks and social distancing are required.