Charles Elmer Gillette, 87, Ottawa, Kansas, passed away Wednesday, March 11, 2020, at Advent Health Ottawa in Ottawa, Kansas.
A memorial service will be 11 a.m. Saturday, March 14, 2020, at the First Baptist Church, 410 S. Hickory, Ottawa, Kansas. Burial will occur at Highland Cemetery, Ottawa. A dinner will follow at First Baptist Church. The family will receive friends from 6-8 p.m. Friday, March 13, 2020, at the Lamb-Roberts Funeral Home, 325 S. Hickory, Ottawa, Kansas. Memorial contributions to First Baptist Church or Prairie Paws Animal Shelter sent c/o the Lamb-Roberts Funeral Home, P.O. Box 14, Ottawa, KS 66067. Condolences to the family may be sent through www.lamb-roberts.com.
Charles was born Oct. 29, 1932, in Carrizozo, New Mexico, the son of Raymond Gillette and Ada Mae (Witt) Gillette. At the age of two, Charles moved with his family to a farm south of Ottawa, Kansas. He attended Rock Creek Grade School, Ottawa Junior High School and graduating from Ottawa High School with the class of 1950. Charles then attended Neosho Community College, Johnson County Community College later attending Ottawa University and the Dale Carnegie Institute and American Management Association.
Charles served his country in the United States Naval Reserves from 1950-1953, attaining the rank of Airman.
Charles’ professional career was working with Market Management, Inc. and Pence Food Centers Inc., an eastern Kansas corporate grocery chain, as a co-owner. Charles held the positions of corporate secretary, treasurer, and executive vice president, while having the active work responsibility of managing several stores, general merchandise director and general supervisor of operations. Over his years of work, he received the 100K club Award. Charles semi-retired on Jan. 1, 1998.
Charles was an active member of the Ottawa community. He served the Ottawa Municipal Auditorium Board for five years, two of those as chairman. He served on the Ottawa City Commission for 11 years, during which time he was the Ottawa Mayor for the 1990-1991 term and the 1999-2000 term. Charles served on the Ottawa Planning Commission for five years, two as chairman, Franklin County Board of Zoning Appeals, three years, two as chairman, and Kansas League of Municipalities member.
Charles was a member of the First Baptist Church, Ottawa, over the years he has served his church as deacon, usher, church council, Sunday School teacher, nursery worker, choir member, as well as organizing and being a member of the First Baptist Heritage Member group,. Charles also served on various committees over the years and drove the church bus for many years for outside functions.
He was also very giving of his time for Ottawa youth activities. He was a project leader for Rambling Ranchers 4-H Club, Franklin County 4-H horse project leader, Ottawa Junior Wranglers youth horse club organizer and leader. He served as a Cub Master for Pack #3074, he was leader for Weblos and helped many years for McGruff and Dare camp. Charles was also a part of the Breakfast Buddy group and Ottawa Promise board.
Charles volunteered many hours of his life to Ottawa civic services. He served on the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce Board and served on many committees as well as serving as President. Charles was also honored with the Russell Crites Community Service Award from the Chamber of Commerce in 2005. He was active in the Ottawa Kiwanis Club, including serving as President over the years. He was a member of Power of the Past tractor club, Friend of the Library, Franklin County Genealogy Society, Ottawa Jaycees, Franklin County Arts Council, Head Start American Legion Post #60, and the Franklin County Convention and Tourism board. He served as President for two years and eight years on the board for ECKAN and was awarded in 2006 with the Raymond Lindsey Grassroots Volunteer of the Years Award, president of the Franklin County Historical Society which awarded him the Order of the Golden Trailer Award in 1999, as well as spending countless hours volunteering at the animal shelter in Ottawa over the years. Charles also was extremely honored in 2007 when he was place on the Ottawa High School Wall of Honor.
Charles was very busy giving his hours to his community over the years. He still found plenty of time for raising and riding horses, flying, golfing and playing music either in the City Band or on the piano. He loved his pets and he always was happy to get back out on the farm and work on the property.
On July 1, 1950, Charles was united in marriage to Sue Gatlin in Olathe, Kansas. They happily celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary this July.
Charles is survived by son, Mark Gillette and his wife, Jeannie, Gilbert, Arizona; daughter, Kelley Coday and her husband, Joe, Springfield, Missouri; sister, Dorothy Ruger, Hamilton, Indiana; and 11 grandchildren, Amy, Ben, Shane, Josh, Randall, Crysti, Justin, Emily, Connor, Patrick, and Mandy.
He was preceded in death by his beloved wife Sue, parents and daughter, Stephanie.