John Lawrence Gill
July 14, 1911 - March 04, 2012
John Lawrence "Larry" Gill, of Crystal Falls, Mich., and a long-term resident of Iron County, passed away March 4, 2012, at the Iron County Medical Care Facility in Crystal Falls.
He was born July 14, 1911, in Madisonville, Ohio, son of the late Edward L. Gill and Maud (Williams) Gill. Larry was raised in Ohio and Kentucky. He briefly attended Indiana University, planning to major in chemistry. At the onset of the Great Depression, however, he left IU and traveled the country seeking work, as did so many others equally affected by the economy, venturing as far as California and Washington state.
In 1932, while returning to Ohio, Larry learned that the newly formed Civilian Conservation Corps was seeking eligible young men to staff its programs. He signed on and began working at a CCC camp in the Kenton, Mich., area. While there, he met Anna Pauline Bennett and they were married in December, 1933. She passed away in 1973. In 1975 he married Eva Hanttula Bennett and took up residence in Crystal Falls. She preceded him in death on January 14, 2012.
During WW II, Larry worked on the MacArthur Locks at Sault Ste. Marie, eventually returning to Iron County to work at various jobs as a miner, lumberman, and mason. During the Korean War, he traveled to Greenland and spent about eight months on the construction of Thule Air Base as part of a government secret mission.
Larry served on the Hematite Township School Board and for a while as a town constable. He enjoyed photography and submitted photographs and articles to local news publications, the Diamond Drill and the Iron River Reporter. He also took a position with the Iron County Chamber of Commerce and could be found at the intersection of US Highways 2 and 141 in Crystal Falls, dispensing helpful information to county visitors.
Larry loved "the woods." He enjoyed riding around on forest roads in the fall and reminiscing about how things had been when he first came to the UP, and of the old logging roads and railroads he had helped build. He could describe intimately most of the lakes, rivers, logging roads, and sights of Iron County and much of its surrounding area. He also enjoyed automobile travel, making several trips to Canada and twice traveling the Canadian MacKenzie River by small boat to the Arctic Ocean with his son, Don.
Survivors include his children, Mary Lee Leaf, Gary Todd (Darlene) Gill, Lowell (Marilyn) Gill, Susan Olson (Bryon Johnson), Diana (Nate) Gatewood, Samuel (Alla) Gill, Stephen (JoAnne) Gill, Thomas (Mary Beth) Gill, Valerie Gill, Edward Gill; stepchildren, Ford (Nina) Bennett, and Karen (Gordon) Collick. Larry also leaves many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wives Anna Pauline Gill and Eva Gill; son Don Allyn Gill; son-in-law, Clarence Leaf; grandsons, Don Leaf and Edward Olson, and stepson, John Kingsley Bennett.
A memorial is being planned to celebrate the life of a man who had seen and done so much over a full century, affected so many, and who had lived to see America change, literally, from the horse and buggy days to what it is today.
The visitation will be Thursday, March 8, 2012, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Jacobs-Plowe Funeral Home, Crystal Falls. The memorial service will be held 2:00 p.m., Thursday at the funeral home. Rev. Nathan Reed will officiate. Burial will be in Kenton.
You may light a candle in remembrance of Larry or leave a condolence to his family online at www.JacobsFuneralHomes.com
The Jacobs-Plowe Funeral Home, Crystal Falls, is serving the family.