Oscar Gills

Oscar Gills

December 5th, 1922 - June 29th, 2020
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Time has claimed another member of the Greatest Generation. Oscar Watts Gills, Jr. passed away on June 29, 2020.

He was born December 5, 1922 in Bedford, Va. He was the only child of Reba Councill and Oscar Watts Gills. On January 15, 1944, he married Mary Lydia Lyle who passed away in December, 2019. They had one child, Karl Gills currently living in Steamboat Springs, Colorado with his wife, Mary.

Following graduation from Bedford High School, he attended VPI for three years as a member of the Cadet Corps. He was unable to complete his education before he was called to serve in WWII. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1942 and served active duty through 1945. He ultimately became a B-17 captain flying missions over Germany from his base in England.

During one of those missions, his aircraft was damaged and he and his crew had to bail out and he became a member of the Caterpillar Club. He spent nine months in a German POW camp before being liberated at the end of the war in Europe. He continued to serve in the local Air National Guard until 1964 when he left with the rank of Major.

Following his military service, he completed his college education at Roanoke College after which he began a career in banking and remained in Roanoke for the rest of his life. He spent most of his career with the Bank of Virginia ultimately serving as the President of the Bank of Virginia of the Roanoke Valley and the Bank of Virginia of the Southwest.

He was very involved in civic activities serving as the Chair of the Board for the Roanoke Central YMCA, the American Red Cross of Roanoke and the United Way. He was a member of the 2nd Presbyterian Church and the Businessmen’s Club.

He continued his interest in flying as a member of the Acorn Flying Club at Woodrum Field. In addition to his passion for flying he enjoyed snow skiing, travel, hiking, golf and activities that kept him fit.

At his request, there will be no memorial services. Anyone wishing to offer a memorial gift is asked to consider the Bradley Free Clinic in Roanoke or a charity of the donor’s choice.
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Peggy Walker

Posted at 02:47pm
Dear Karl and Mary, Once again we send our sympathy and share sweet memories as we read about the loss of your Dad. Another long-standing and well-respected banker in the valley, great husband and father...love his philosophy of activities and hobbies to keep one fit-it certainly worked for his 98 years! Thoughts are with you, take care...
Dana and Peggy

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