William C. Gillespie Jr. was born on April 1, 1953 in Midland, Texas to his parents, William C. Gillespie Sr. and Willie Lee Cole. He was the first-born child to this union and was raised with his siblings, Earnest Ray and Terry Pauline.
As a child, he was given the nickname of “Junior Boy” by his family. He later became known as “Junior”. William’s father often took him to work with him where he allowed him to use a radio while they worked at his janitorial service together. William’s family moved to Denver, Colorado when he was in the fifth grade. They lived in the Dahlia Garden Apartments where he befriended and stayed lifelong friends with Sue Odoms Johnson, Nancy Wright Hogue and Oliver “Skeeter” Van.
William was raised in the church from an early age, he loved the Lord and was a praying man. He was very active in the Pilgrim Rest Youth Group and choir. Later in his adult life, he was a member of Mt. Gilead Baptist Church.
He was educated through Denver Public Schools. He attended Stedman Elementary School, Smiley Middle School and later attended East High School. While in high school, William played football at the running back position which he lettered in. He was also a member of R.O.T.C. He graduated from East High School in 1971. Following high school William furthered his education by attending Adams State College where he received a football scholarship. Unfortunately, his football career was ended due to a knee injury.
William dedicated his life to his country by serving in the United States Navy. During this time he married Linda Owens. This marriage was later dissolved. He served as a medic on various ships, one instance of which he saved a fellow comrades life that was suffering from appendicitis. He served in the Vietnam War. Few knew, that at one point he was a prisoner of war. He was later honorably discharged from the Navy.
William re-kindled his relationship with Denise Reynolds who was his high school sweetheart. The couple were joined in holy matrimony on September 26, 1981. To this union, Chuck and Cam were born. William’s son’s recall that when they were younger, he took them to the shooting range, bought them aquariums along with helping them maintain them. He was always there for his sons but was also very honest and disciplinary. All in all, he helped them to become them men that they are today.
William grew close to Denise’s brothers, Andre and Pierre. Andre and William were both in the navy and shared many similarities. Regarding Pierre, they shared the linking of sports and cars. Pierre served as the best man in Denise and Williams wedding.
William entered the workforce where he began working alongside his father at P&G (People and Gillespie), which was an auto detailing shop. This was a family owned and operated business. At one point he also worked at the VA. William went on to have an amazing career working for the United States Post Office as a Letter Carrier where he received numerous awards, he was very well loved by his customers. They showed their appreciation by showering him with gifts every Christmas. William always performed his duties with a spirit of excellence.
William loved rooting for the Dallas Cowboys, his favorite player was Michael Irving. He had special Cowboy hats and memorabilia throughout the basement. It was well known that he was not a fan of the Denver Broncos, and he brought his sons up to feel the same way. William was also a huge fan of Michael Jordan. However, when Michael Jordan decided to retire, he lost all interest in professional basketball. He enjoyed boxing, his favorite boxer was Muhammad Ali who was often quoted by saying “float like a butterfly, sting like a Bee”. William also enjoyed watching WWF with his sons, his favorite wrestler was Nature Boy Ric Flair.
William was a person that was true to his beliefs. He accepted people for who they were and he appreciated the same in return. He was kind, genuine and playful. William was an introvert who had homebody tendencies. His ideal day consisted of coming home after a long day and watching tv. He enjoyed mysteries, talk shows and old tv shows. He had a true appreciation for good music, he enjoyed listening to B.B. King, James Brown, Bobby Blue Bland, Pasty Klein, Maze, Aretha Franklin and Frankie Beverly. He also liked to cook; William ensured to prioritize his time and therefore ensured that he went on a date with his wife monthly.
As his health declined this year, aside from his wife, sons, and daughter-in-law’s he was very appreciative of his cousin, Alicia Washington; who visited and helped him the last few months of his life. As William fought through illnesses later in his life, he always found ways to stay positive and encouraged. He was looking forward to the birth of his granddaughter who is expected in March of 2023.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Willie Lee and William C. Gillespie Sr.; his brother, Earnest Ray; his sister, Terry Pauline and great niece, Cay’Auni.
William C. Gillespie Jr. passed away on October 12, 2022. Those left to cherish his memory include his wife of 41 years, Denise Gillespie; sons, Chuck (Laura) Gillespie and Cam (Kaylee) Gillespie; brother-in-law, Darwin “Fred” Pierre Reynolds; nieces, Solana, Kiana Ibanez, Crystal Andrea; cousin, Ayana Tompkins; aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, co-workers, neighbors and friends.