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Paul Leslie Gillette

May 26, 1938 ~ July 10, 2019 (age 81)

Paul Leslie Gillette passed away at his home on July 10th in Bountiful, Utah from complications of Alzheimer’s.  His family gathered the evening before singing his favorite songs, then his sons and grandsons gave him a blessing. He was born on May 26, 1938 to Daniel L (Sike) Gillette and Fern Alice Anderson in Tooele, Utah.  He had an older sister, Kay Jensen (deceased) and a younger sister, Janis Borrowman. 

As a youth, Paul was the Central School marble champ and won the local and district Pentathlon.  He began playing golf with parents, uncles, then friends at an early age and enjoyed the game most of his life. Last game with Blake, Spring 2018.  He also loved to ski.  At Tooele High School, he was active in sports and school leadership, and was selected for Boy’s State.    He lettered in 5 sports his senior year and received a white buffalo for good grades.  Paul and Luann started dating in his 9th grade and her 8th grade.  They danced Friday nights at the school dances, Saturday nights at the stake dances, and sometimes at Salt Air or Lagoon as the popular groups and bands toured.

He attended the University of Utah for a Civil Engineering degree, where he became a Sigma Chi.  After 3 years, he left to serve an LDS Mission in New Zealand.  On his return trip home in August 1961, he met his family and Luann in Hawaii where he hoped to marry her in the temple.  Instead, they married later in the Salt Lake Temple, Dec 21, 1961. They had dated for 8 years, plus 58 years of marriage.  They have six children:  Paula (Steve) Powers, Juliann (Greg) Betenson, Fawna Jones; Daniel L (Michelle) Gillette, Charles Rich (Amber) Gillette and Blake Paul (Kaicie) Gillette.  They are blessed with 22 grandchildren—11 boys and 11 girls and 10 great-grandchildren.

Paul first worked for the California Department of Water Resources for 4 years in Fresno on the huge conduit bringing northern water south.  It was there, he learned to love hiking in the Sierras with friends and his 16 Explorer Scouts.  He was also their basketball coach and took them to the All Church Tournament.  In stake conference, the stake president said that the Lord has sent Brother Paul to us on behalf of these boys.

Next, he was hired by the Department of Water Resources for the State of Utah for the rest of his career and became Deputy Director of that department.  In 1968, he was elected President of the Utah Public Employees Association. From that position, he was selected for the Utah State Retirement Board and eventually became the President. They built the new PEHP/Retirement building on 5th E and 2nd So, SLC.

The governor put him in charge of the drought in 1977.  Along with his other work, he was the department liaison with the legislature.   He was the on-site engineer for the Woodruff Dam and the family enjoyed summer visits there.  Paul and Luann loved the many trips around Utah with the Water Resources Board as they considered dams and water projects for our dry state as well as conventions with the Retirement Board. 

He was a referee for church and then high school basketball and coached his son’s sports.  He completed 10 marathons and was a dedicated exerciser and kept meticulous records.  He played golf from his youth and enjoyed the game with co-workers and friends like Larry Deppe and Ron Gardner until a couple of years ago.  He had a lovely tenor voice, was devoted to the ward choir, and with his wife sang with the Davis Civic Chorale for 11 plus years.  They loved singing the Messiah each December and many other great works.   

In Bountiful, he was Scout-master of a large troop (averaging 24) for many years with a high percentage of Eagle Scouts.  His 3 sons are Eagle Scouts.  He was given the Silver Beaver Award and then served on that committee, eventually as chairman.   He also took his young family--then older family, plus extended family and neighbors on back-packing trips in the Uintah’s and Wind Rivers.  He was known for taking Scout mothers and even daughters along on hikes to King’s Peak and through the Zion Narrows (where they survived a flood) and also as the scoutmaster who always went out—rain, snow, sleet.

He took the lead in buying a lot, and then building an extended-family cabin at Oak Haven, above Midway. He was handy at fixing and building.  He also repaired his own cars for many years at a weekly class at Bountiful High.  

As taught by his dad, he liked to hunt and fish with family.  He had a boat for many years and a camper.  Not much time to use either, but took family/grandchildren on some fun trips.  Also, there were some memorable hunting trips with his boys, deer and elk.   

He was Bountiful East Stake Sports Director, a High Councilman, ward clerk, and Bishop of the 30th Ward (1994-1999).  A highlight of his years as Bishop was taking the whole ward on a family camping trek to the handcart sites, high-lighted with music and narratives.

Upon his early retirement, he volunteered for five years at the Church Department of Water Resources, helping to locate and dig wells for Girl’s camps (Heber, Mantua, etc) and proving-up church water rights for farms, dairies, particularly those at Deseret Ranch.  Next, he and Luann were called on a mission to Ivory Coast, changed at last minute to the new Cape Coast, Ghana Mission as the office couple.  Upon returning, he served at the Bountiful temple, two days a week for 10 years until 2016, taking a turn as shift coordinator, and also with the eleven-year old scouts.

He was always seeking self-improvement, loved reading scriptures, church books and others,  Skousen’s books and tapes and Near Death books.  He loved his trip to Book of Mormon Lands with Dr Joe Allen.  He was a generous, caring home-teacher.  He loved the Savior and will find much joy in the hereafter with family and friends. 

Many thanks to South Davis Hospice (Melissa/Zach).  Thanks to his golfing buddies, such as Larry Deppe, Ron Gardner.  Next, to Keith Martin for taking him on many photo rides about the state, taking pictures of historic churches.  Special thanks to daughter, Juliann, who lives in Bountiful for first doing daily puzzles with him, then moving on to daily afternoon drives (same route) while they both sang favorite songs from the past, from musicals, hymns, John Denver and such.  He especially liked to spot the old white tree trunk shaped like a Y and to sing, “Rise and Shout the Cougars are Out”, followed by “A Utah Man”. To the Golden Years Center for a cookie and hot chocolate while Lu did line dancing.   To our other children, further away, who helped when they could, and then almost every evening for the last month of his life. 

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