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Home / Gillis / In Memoriam Francis X. Gillis

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In Memoriam: Francis Xavier Gillis

Contacts & Resources

Our Beloved Scoutmaster--He Improved Us All

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Memorial Service for Fran Gillis
A memorial service honoring Fran Gillis will be held at Mount Pisgah United Methodist Church, 2850 Old Alabama Road, Johns Creek, Georgia, on Saturday, October 13, 2018 at 10:00AM. Scouts and Scouters are encouraged, but not required, to wear full Class A Scout uniforms.

At the Gillis Family’s request, a Boy Scout Troop 629 Scholarship Fund, The Fran Gillis Memorial Fund, has been established to help current and future scout members experience the scouting program no matter their financial situation.

Troop 629 has also set up a site to collect the thoughts and reflections from the many people who Mr. Gillis influenced. Please go to If you would like to forward a picture, please email: We will collect these remembrances and pictures and create a condolence book for the Gillis family.

We are so appreciative and truly touched by the outpouring of support we have received during this difficult time – thank you.

Many thanks,
Mary Beth Bierbaum
Troop 629 Committee Chair



It is with a saddened heart that we share the news of the unexpected passing of our beloved Scoutmaster, Mr. Fran Gillis. He passed away in his sleep while traveling in Canada.

Further information regarding a Memorial Service in Atlanta will be communicated as it is available.

Mr. Jason Sutton will be acting Scoutmaster and all Troop 629 activities will continue. If you have any questions or concerns regarding Troop 629, please contact either the Troop Committee Chair - Mary Beth Bierbaum, Acting Scoutmaster - Jason Sutton, or Troop Advancement Chair - Kathleen Narayanan.

Our next Troop Meeting will be next Monday, July 30, 2018 at 7:15pm - 8:45pm in the FLC - our summer meeting location.

Resources for the boys and their families have been made available as listed on the right side of this page, in addition to the attached “Guide to Helping Teens with Traumatic Grief.”

Mr. Gillis will be greatly missed by all who had the privilege of working with him in the Boy Scouting program. He began his affiliation with the Boys Scouts in 1962 as a Scout in Massachusetts. He went on to dedicate almost fifty years of his life as an adult volunteer to the scouting program not only in the United States but also abroad during his career in the U.S. Army. Mr. Gillis joined our Troop as an advisor in 1998 and became our Scoutmaster in 1999. He lived a life of service and will be truly missed.

Donate to the Fran Gillis Memorial Fund

The picture above is from our December 20, 2010 Troop meeting which featured a wonderful commemoration for Mr. Gillis' contributions to our Troop and community.  34 past Eagle Scouts visited and Fran was presented with a special book containing pictures and letters from the hundreds of lives he has touched.  

Mr. Gillis penned this thank you note in his January 2011 Scoutmaster's Minute. As with all wisdom, it applies today, as ever:

Wow what an end of the year meeting with some of the past and present scouts and families of Troop 629. Yes, I was totally surprised with the event and the notes and album full of fond memories. A really special time with extra memories documented for years to come. Many thanks to you all! At picture time, the stage was full of something marvelous. Day in and day out, the newspapers and TVs blare the doom and gloom of society. On that stage, I saw the future and its going to be just great. So many goals and visions being realized with a positive power that shows we have not lost our way with so many great young men yet to hit the world stage and forge our future with values, compassion, sympathy, leadership and enthusiasm.

You could just feel the energy and great things to come. My small part, over those years we shared, was to add my two cents in keeping them focused on their future and their personal potential to unleash in whatever endeavor they took on as each and every one was special in their own way. Letting me share their life along those formative years was rewarding in itself but to see the future beginning to grow is truly amazing. So many there and yet so many more out there still on their individual paths. It is just memorable to see and hear about all the personal accomplishments. If I could have captured that feeling that night in jar, I would never have anyone not be able to understand the power of the program in the lives of those who get involved and push to succeed. Of course, they had many other influences along the way from parents, family, school, church and other organizations but I do believe the scouting program was the thread for so many of those years that brought all those talents out and molded the young men into greater spheres than otherwise may have been.

--Fran Gillis, Scoutmaster


The Fran Gillis
Memorial Fund


Troop 629 Committee Chair Mary Beth Bierbaum

Acting Scoutmaster
Jason Sutton

Advancement Chair
Kathleen Narayanan
Mount Pisgah United Methodist Church
Phone: 678-336-3000
The Summit Counseling Center
Phone: 678-893-5300
Grief Handout
Atlanta Area Council Boy Scouts of America
Phone: 770-989-8820


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