Jane Gillis, born November 29, 1926 in South Bend, Indiana, died at 95 years old on Thursday, December 30, 2021. Jane, a 14 year resident of Rossmoor, Walnut Creek, and her husband, Jim, had lived 46 years in Toluca Lake in Southern California. Jane was particularly proud of executing 17 moves in 15 years before they settled in Los Angeles. When Jim and Jane opened Gillis Broadcasting Reps in 1979, they worked tirelessly together to build a successful business. Jane also published a cookbook with recipes from notables of the University of Notre Dame from which Jim graduated as well as a children’s book, The Story of the Little Hungry Squirrel. Jane was always the entrepreneurial force in the family. In 1951 when Jim was a senior, he proposed to Moose Krause the Notre Dame basketball coach and athletic director that Jim join the team at Madison Square Garden and broadcast the NYU-Notre Dame game. The cost of the phone line to accommodate the broadcast was a staggering $500. Jane sold $500 of advertising to finance the broadcast and half of that amount to The Frito Company (now Frito-Lay) by making a collect call to Detroit! Later, Jane started a T-shirt company and printed names on the T-shirts – just a little ahead of the shirt design rage that began in the 1960’s. She worked in real estate and also volunteered in a myriad of organizations over the years.
Jane was very proud of her 71-year marriage to Jim who pre-deceased her by two months and three days. She was also pre-deceased by her parents, Welcome and Helen Knepp, and her two sisters Catherine Hill and Marilou Nelson. She is survived by her five children, Karen Vesely (Jeff), Kathleen Gillis, Kerrie Gillis (Ira Goldstein), Kim Giles (Tim) and Kevin Gillis (Anne Sculley), nine grandchildren-Megan (Jason Poag), Patrick (Monica Manning-Vesely), Kevin Vesely and Kelly Tomanchek (Jim), Simone (Sean Carty) and Emile Goldstein (Ruby), Melissa Nicks (Michael) and Eleanor and Ruby Gillis and three great-grandchildren, Jackson, Dallon, and Arden Poag.
There will be an outdoor, graveside service for Jane on January 5th at 11 a.m. at Queen of Heaven Cemetery at 1965 Reliez Valley Rd., Lafayette, CA. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Good Shepherd Shelter https://catholiccharitiesla.org/good-shepherd-shelter/