Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

Joe's History

Gone But Not Forgotten

GiliSm.jpg Captain Joseph A. Gili, United States Air Force Academy Class of 1964, died peacefully at University Hospital in Salt Lake City, UT on Tuesday, January 27, 2004 after a skiing accident at Jackson Hole, WY. Per his wishes, Joe's ashes were scattered by his family among the Teton Mountains.

Joe was born May 7, 1942 in Bowling Green, KY to Joseph and Joanna Gili. He spent his childhood in Seymour, IN, graduating from Seymour High School in 1960.

At the Academy Joe excelled in all things engineering, thus earning his nickname “Raven” (apologies to Edgar Allen Poe). He would gladly interrupt his nightly bridge game to help other cadets with their EE, Math, or Astro problem sets. Joe actively engaged in all the 11th Cadet Squadron intramurals and was the star of the water polo team. Coming from the flatlands of Indiana, Joe was fascinated with the Rocky Mountains and especially skiing. He took every opportunity to make his way to the slopes and he was always the first on the lifts and the last off. He graduated with a major in Basic Sciences.

After graduation Joe was stationed at RAF Alconbury, England and Richards-Gebaur AFB, KS. Joe also served in Viet Nam, where he received the Bronze Star for meritorious service in 1972.

Following active duty, Joe moved to Denver, CO, where he earned his Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Denver. Joe then moved to Idaho Falls, ID and built a career working for a number of government contract companies, his most recent employer being Bechtel BWXT Idaho, LLC at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory. His career spanned Nuclear Power and Computer Research.

Joe was an active athlete and sportsman throughout his life. During his graduate studies in Denver, he joined the Ski Patrol at Breckenridge, CO. He lived to ski, and continued as an active member of the National Ski Patrol for over 30 years, most recently at Snow King Resort in Jackson, WY. He also had a long history of service with the Idaho Falls Ski Club. When not skiing, Joe helped his wife, Becky, with set design and construction, and performances by her dance company, The Studio One. Other activities included swimming and diving, soccer, basketball, motorcycle riding, and camping. He and his family were also active members of the congregation at the Idaho Falls First Presbyterian Church.

Survivors include his wife, Becky Nelson Gili of Idaho Falls; his children: son (and best friend) Nicholas Gili, son Christopher Gili, daughter Meghann Gili, daughter Sarah Gili, son Don Eatinger, and daughter Christy Eatinger Stewart; grandchildren Cassidy Gili and Zerric Stewart; mother Joanna Gili; sisters Vicki Catlin, Susannah Caum, Sarah Luse; and brother Brad Gili.

We remember Joe as a loving father and husband, a true and generous friend who produced good times and a free lift ticket when you met, and a1ways a man of his word.

(By his family and Will McKenney ‘64, Gone But Not Forgotten, Checkpoints, Summer 2004)
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