Death of a Classmate - William Gilmore - 17th Co.

Colonel William R. "Bill" Gilmore, a long-time resident of Colorado Springs, Colorado passed away peacefully on February 23, 2016 at Liberty Heights Manor in Colorado Springs, Colorado. His wife, Manotsiri "Joy", was at his bedside; as well as, his immediate family members. 

Bill served his country for more than 26-years in the United States Air Force.

Bill was born on a farm in Yucaipa, California to parents Richard J. and Pauline B. Gilmore, both of whom preceded him in death. 

While growing up on the farm, he attended and was a member of the 1950 graduating class of San Bernadino High School. Immediately after graduation he received a congressional appointment to the United States Naval Academy, graduating as a member of the Class of 1954. Upon graduation he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Air Force. 

Bill's military service spanned 26-years of active duty Air Force. He started out flying as a Radar Navigator in the Strategic Air Command in B-47 and B-52 bombers and completed two tours during the Vietnam War flying combat missions in EB-66 aircraft while stationed in Thailand. After spending the first 17-years in flying assignments, Bill then trained to serve as an Air Force Procurement and Contracting Officer. His final assignment was NORAD/ACOM Director of Procurement in Colorado Springs, Colorado. 

Most notable of his military decorations are the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Air Force Accommodation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, and the Defense Meritorious Medal.

Bill met his current wife, Joy, over 30-years ago while both were training at Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, Colorado. At the time, he was a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Air Force and she was a Major in the Royal Thai Air Force. They later got married. Bill and Joy both retired as Colonels. Two of their children have also served in government service for their countries. 

Bill has a son, Robert Gilmore that served as Patrol Agent in Charge in the United States Border Patrol. Joy has an adopted daughter, Namlarp Ambunandana who is currently a Lieutenant Colonel in the Royal Thai Air Force.

After retiring from the Air Force in 1980, Bill started a second career working as a Contracting Officer for Saudi Arabian Parsons, LTD. in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia. He was responsible for negotiating and administering numerous international contracts for the construction of the new Industrial City at Yanbu. After working for ten-years in Saudi Arabia, Bill returned to Colorado Springs, Colorado where he lived ever since.

Bill was preceded in death by his parents, Richard and Helen (Peters) Gilmore; his ex-wife, Thelma Gilmore; and daughter, Debra Sue Gilmore. 

He is survived by his loving and caring wife, Joy; step-daughter, Namlarp Ambunandana; sister, Myrna (Richard) Caroon; son, Robert James (Diana) Gilmore; daughter, Patricia Ann (Scott) Long; grandson, Keith (Anna) Long; granddaughter, Kelly (Carter) Hudspeth; and granddaughter, Dana Andrade. He is uncle to three-children and great-uncle to seven.

Visitation, 1:00PM-3:00PM, Saturday, February 27, 2016, The Springs Funeral Services, 3115 East Platte Avenue, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80909.

Memorial Service and Interment with Military Honors, 11:00AM, Monday, February 29, 2016, Memorial Pavilion, United States Air Force Academy Cemetery. 

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to one's desired charity. 

Our sincere thanks are extended to all the medical personnel who kept Colonel Gilmore comfortable in his final days, and especially to the personnel at Liberty Heights Manor and Optum Hospice Services.

Published in The Gazette on Feb. 24, 2016

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