Jack and Alice Gillette, of Wilson, NC, died peacefully on November 1 and November 4, 2020 respectively, together, after 71 years of marriage. A service celebrating their lives will be held November 20, 2020 at Heritage gardens Funeral Home, Niceville, FL
.Jack attended the United States Military Academy at West Point from 1945 to 1949 and upon graduation was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force. He married his childhood sweetheart, Alice, in their hometown of Wilson, NC, and together embarked on a 30-year Air Force career. He realized his dream of flying when he completed pilot training and earned his wings in August 1950. During his 30-year career, he amassed over 10,000 flying hours, flying 32 different aircraft. He attended the Air Force Test Pilot school in 1959 and later served as the commander of the 4750th Test Squadron from 1963-1966 at Tyndall AFB, FL. He served with honor in Vietnam in 1968-1969 as the commander of the 45th Reconnaissance Squadron flying 170 combat missions in the RF-101 and earned 11 Air Medals and 3 Distinguished Flying Crosses. As a test pilot, he was assigned as the F-111 Joint Test Force Director at Edwards AFB, CA from 1969-1973 to expand the flight envelope and new capabilities of the F-111. He concluded his Air Force career at Eglin AFB as the 3246th Test Wing Commander in May 1979.
Upon his marriage to Alice and over the next 30 years, he had three children and moved fourteen times across the USA. Jack and Alice were active parents and as a family spent most of their time hiking, fishing, skiing, mountain climbing and camping. At the conclusion of their 30-year career in the Air Force, they decided to stay in Florida and began their 41-year retirement career. From 1980-1982, they built a beautiful “Cabin in the Woods” outside Durango, CO and named it “Gillette’s New West”. From1982-2012 they spent 5 months each year in Durango, golfing, hiking, and camping – five months in the summer and one month in the winter to pursue their love of skiing.
They had the rare privilege of knowing all seven of their grandchildren and watching six grow to adulthood. They also got to know all six of their great-grandchildren personally. Jack and Alice were a wonderful team for 71 years and always lived life to the fullest. They now will share eternity together.
Funeral services will be held November 20, 2020 at Heritage Gardens Funeral Home in Niceville, FL, with Rev. Dr. Scott Hohn officiating. A private family burial with full military honors will follow in Heritage Gardens Cemetery.
Jack and Alice’s family would like to give special thanks to Susan Gray, who provided loving care to Jack and Alice over the past several years. They are also appreciative of the care provided by Emerald Coast Hospice in Fort Walton Beach.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Memorial Fund at Trinity United Methodist Church, 403 Racetrack Road, NW, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Jack W. Gillette, please visit our floral store.