William P. Gillis of Hampton Bays died at his home on Saturday, December 28. He was 77.
Formerly of Staten Island, Mr. Gillis had been a resident of Hampton Bays for 41 years. In 1957, he married his high school sweetheart, Lorraine Ricucci, then also of Staten Island. They moved to Hampton Bays in 1972 to pursue educational opportunities for their special needs child, which at the time were not easily accessible in New York City. Survivors said Mr. Gillis was an active and doting father and grandfather to a daughter, two sons and three grandsons. He was a constant spectator at football, lacrosse, and wrestling competitions, they said, and was well known to his grandson’s coaches, teammates and supporters at Westhampton Beach High School. He was also an avid fisherman, loved dogs and summer barbecues, and enjoyed playing golf with his grandsons.
Following a brief stint with the New York City Department of Sanitation, Mr. Gillis worked for 20 years as a city firefighter, when he was nicknamed “the garbage man.” He retired from the FDNY in 1981 and thereafter worked many years as a local handyman, painter and contractor.
He was predeceased by his wife after 27 years of marriage. Mr. Gillis is survived by three children, Debra Ann Berglin and husband Thomas of East Quogue, William P. Gillis Jr. of Hampton Bays and Patrick N. Gillis of Manhattan; and three grandchildren, Kyle T. Berglin of Florida and Kurt B. Berglin and Kiernan P. Berglin of East Quogue.
Visitation was at R.J. O’Shea Funeral Home in Hampton Bays on December 28. A funeral Mass took place on December 31 at the Church of St. Rosalie, also in Hampton Bays, with interment at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Southampton. Memorial donations may be made to the New York Firefighters Burn Center Foundation, www.nyffburncenter.com.