In Memory

Bill Gillispie VIEW PROFILE

Thomas Winn Gillespie, of Santa Fe, New Mexico died August 25, 2014, after a short illness.

"Bill", as he was known by a wide circle of friends, was born June 11, 1941, in Dallas, TX, to Thomas Williams ("Pops") Gillispie and his wife Ethel McKenzie Gillispie.

He grew up in Victoria, TX, where he graduated frm Victoria High School.  While in Victoria, he met Linda Perry, and they married December 14, 1963.  Bill graduated from North Texas State in 1966 with a BA in psychology. 

After graduation, Bill joined NASA.  He worked at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Clear Lake City, TX, on both the Gemini and Apollo missions.

In 1968, he joined the United States Air Force, hoping to become a fighter pilot.  At 6'5", he was judged too tall to bea fighter pilot.  Instead, Bill azquired good piloting skills in other aircraft types.  These certifications led to several aircraft adventures later in his life.  While in the USAF, he rose to Captain in the Office of Special Investigations, taking on assignments in Sioux City, Iowa, Okinawa, and Fort Worth, TX.  His Air Force career ended after one last tour of duty to Clovis, TX.  He was honrably dischrged after this deployment.

He then began a long and adventurous career with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Special Agent Gillispie did his FBI training in Washington, D.C., and then went to Kansas City, to Detroit working undercover investigating organized crime.  His FBI career then took him to Hawaii, Albuquerque, and Santa Fe.  Bill retired from the FBI in 1996

One notable FBI assignment took him to Wounded Knee during the 1973 "uprising".  Bill would later be heard to say that he was the only blond guy there (and taller than most of the trees on the Reservation).  That made him an excellent target, but he survived.

He related some ofhis FBI adventures in his nonfiction book "Honk, If You Love J.Edgar Hoover".

His best-remembered stories, though were those he related to his friends in his inimitable style.  Bill was a superb raconteur, and enjoyed regaling his friends with tales that grew only slightly in the telling.  One such tale had Hoholulu air traffic control forcing him to attempt a harrrowing takeoff in a single-engine Cessna through the turbulent wake of a Boeing 747 that had taken off a few seconds before.

He had so many tales because adventure seemed to find him even in the least likely circumstances.

In 2003, he married Beverley Shattuck Baer of Santa Fe, New Mexico.  They remained married until his death.

Bill had a second book in progress at the time of his death.  It was a novel, tentatively titled "Manila.


Click here to see Bill's last Profile entry.