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Archie Gillies of Southampton, Ontario, formerly of Kitchener-Waterloo, passed away peacefully in his 92nd year on the morning of December 2, 2016 with his daughter by his side.
He is predeceased by his beloved son Jamie. He is also predeceased by his dear siblings; loving sister Barbara Marie O’Connor (Gerald), and brothers Claire Gillies and Bruce Gillies, by his dear cousin Mary Cianciolo (John), and most cherished aunt, Myrtle McCallum. He is survived by his loving daughter, Dr. Mary-Melinda Gillies. Born during a snowstorm in Walkerton, Ontario, 91 years ago, he was the first born of Duncan and Rose Gillies of Hamilton.
He graduated from Cathedral Boys High School in Hamilton while working many different jobs alongside his father during the Great Depression, to provide for their family.
A former tail-gunner in the Royal Canadian Air Force at the end of WWII, Archie started his early career in sales with General Motors for Western Canada, and often enjoyed exploring the Peace River country with other adventurers, young and old.
A true visionary, he started his long career in public service with Chambers of Commerce, Visitor and Convention Bureaus and Economic Development (Board of Trade) with the City of Saint John, New Brunswick in 1961.
Moving to Kitchener in 1964 with his young family, he spent more than 20 years as Executive Director of the Kitchener Chamber of Commerce, Industrial Commissioner, Director of Economic and Business Development, and Director of the Kitchener Visitor and Convention Bureau.
As Industrial Commissioner, Archie was key in acquiring land for the city, and integral in developing Kitchener’s Industrial Park. He represented Kitchener tirelessly across Canada and around the globe, having tremendous success enticing businesses, including Budd Automotive, to expand or re-locate to the City of Kitchener, as well as supporting and encouraging small businesses and private entrepreneurs. In doing so, he created thousands of life-long jobs for workers and their families in the K-W area. Just as importantly, if a company did not choose Kitchener, Archie would jump forward to assist in bringing those companies to Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph and surrounding areas knowing that it would benefit families in Kitchener as well.
With his dear friend and colleague, the late Mr. Charles Greb, he was a member of the founding group, and original member of the Board of Directors of KW Oktoberfest, and later sat on the Oktoberfest Women’s Committee.
He was also integral in saving the Old City Hall Clock Tower, now standing in Victoria Park, and along side Mrs. Mabel Krug, in the founding of The Centre in the Square.
He was a Rotarian and a dedicated community leader who served in supporting and promoting community welfare, culture and the arts as a long time Director and board member of the St. Agatha Children’s Village, the KW Art Gallery, Wilfred Laurier University Board of Governors and is a past President of the Southwestern Ontario CAA.
After his retirement from the City of Kitchener, Archie was enlisted by
Bruce County to head up their Business Development program. After
his second retirement, he was enlisted by the City of Yellowknife, and
by the Town of Chesley after his third.
Finally, retiring close to 80, Archie focused on serving the communities
of Southampton and Port Elgin. He was most interested in the development
of health and education in the area, spearheading the building of the
Saugeen Shores Medical Building in Southampton, the physicians
recruitment committee and taking an active role with the Bluewater Board
books, sports, movies ...
Monday, December 05, 2016