Donald Eugene Gilman


Posted: Thursday, July 21, 2005


  Don Gilman

Don Gilman

Former Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Donald Eugene Gilman died Monday, July 18, 2005, in Sun City West, Ariz. He was 71.

A service will be held at 4 p.m. Monday, July 25, at Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Church in Kenai. A gathering of family and friends will be held at the Kenai Senior Citizens Center following the service.

Mr. Gilman was born April 20, 1934, in Long Creek, Ore., to Mead and Linnie Gilman. He grew up on a ranch, was educated in a one-room schoolhouse and rode a horse to school.

He graduated from Eastern Oregon University, where he met the love of his life, Nikki, of LaGrande, Ore. The two were married Aug. 4, 1955. During the first years of their marriage, they lived in Louisiana, where Mr. Gilman served as a private in the U.S. Army and where their oldest son, Bradley, was born. After receiving an honorable discharge, the family returned to Oregon, where Mr. Gilman began his teaching and administrative career and son, Blaine, was born.

In 1968, the Gilmans moved to Alaska, where Mr. Gilman worked as principal of Susan B. English School in Seldovia and at Seward High School. He was then recruited to become the program director of the Seward Skills Center (now AVTEC), and he developed the school's first instructional programs.

In 1975, Mr. Gilman was elected to his first of five terms as borough mayor. He also served as a state senator from 1980 to 1984. He was active in many nonprofit organizations, including Boys and Girls Clubs, United Way, Caring for the Kenai and the Kenai River Classic.

"Although Don's professional life was impressive, nothing was more important to him than his family. Don loved traveling with his wife, Nikki, always on roads off the beaten path so they could stop and visit with people along the way," his family said.

"Don was very proud of his two sons and their accomplishments. Don was also 'Grandpa Don' to seven grandchildren, who he loved dearly, spoiled and played with to the very end of his life. Don's family is so very thankful for all he taught us and the love he shared so freely. He will be deeply missed."

Mr. Gilman was preceded in death by his parents, Mead and Linnie Gilman.

He is survived by his wife, Nikki Gilman; sons, Brad Gilman of Vienna, Va., and Blaine Gilman of Kenai; two daughters-in-law, Lisa Gilman of Vienna and Margaret Gilman of Kenai; grandchildren, Anna, Joey and Luke Gilman of Vienna and Rebecca, Benjamin, Jacob and Brittany Gilman of Kenai; and brother, Mead, and sister-in-law, Mikkie Gilman, of Ocean Shores, Wash.

Condolences may be sent to the Gilman family at 216 Susieana Lane, Kenai, AK 99611.

Arrangements were made by Camino del Sol Funeral Chapel and Cremation Center in Sun City West.

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