Eileen F. (Fleming) Gillis

December 9, 1925 ~ August 27, 2023 (age 97) 97 Years Old


Eileen Gillis, formerly of Milton, MA, and currently of Naples, FL, died peacefully in her sleep on August 27, 2023. She was one of eight children born to James and Hanna (Anna) Fleming. She is survived by her children, Kathleen Sayre and her husband James of Farmington, CT, Julie Dutcher and her husband John of Beverly, MA, Michael Gillis and his wife Julie of Westwood, MA, and F. Brian Gillis of Naples, FL. She cherished her grandchildren, Kathleen (Dutcher) Curry and husband Sam, Stephen Dutcher and wife Caroline, Thomas Sayre and wife Susan, Julie Anna Sayre and husband Brian Giordano, James Sayre and wife Allison, Frederick Brian Gillis, II, Kaitleen M. (Gillis) Troller and husband Christopher W. Troller, Liam Paul Joseph Gillis, Michaela Gillis, Erin Gillis and Daniel Gillis, as well as her great grandchildren, Daniel, Emily and Fiona Sayre, Scarlett and Stephen Curry and Hallie Lou Dutcher. In addition to her husband, Dr. Joseph Leo Gillis, Eileen is predeceased by her two sons, Danny Gillis, and Joe Gillis.  

Eileen grew up in Dorchester, MA. A gifted student, she started 1st grade at age 4, graduated from Notre Dame Academy at 16, and then Emmanual College at 20 with a B.S in mathematics. After graduation, she worked at MIT in the jet propulsion laboratory which was known during World War II as the Confidential Instrument Development Laboratory, today known as Draper Laboratories. Eileen met her future husband at a BC High dance when she was fifteen. Soon after his return from service in WWII, they married in 1948, and she left MIT to raise her family. After the sudden death of her young husband, she became a schoolteacher, allowing her to both work and care for her six school age children. Eileen earned a master’s degree in education from Boston University and became Assistant Director of Special Education in Milton before retiring as Director of Special Education in Stoughton. She then started Gillis Consultants, collaborating with school districts throughout the state regarding special education compliance.

In addition to her work, Eileen was elected and served as a Town Meeting Member in Milton, MA, was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Milton Public Library, serving as its Chair, and worked on the Traffic Commission in conjunction with the Milton Police. She also was a very active member of her alumni associations at Notre Dame Academy and Emmanual College.

After nearly forty years in education, Eileen eventually “retired” to Naples, FL, where she continued for many years to work as a volunteer at Ave Maria Law School. She cherished her faith and her family most and enjoyed her many years as Mom, Grandma, and Great Grandma.      

Visitation is on Monday, September 4, 2023, at Eaton Funeral Home, 1351 Highland Avenue, Needham, MA, from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 2021, at St. Joseph’s Church, 1360 Highland Avenue, 10:00 a.m. Interment will take place following Mass at the Milton Cemetery, Milton, MA.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Daniel and Joseph Gillis Scholarship fund at Thayer Academy, 745 Washington Street, Braintree, MA. 02184.


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September 4, 2023

4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Eaton Funeral Home
1351 Highland Avenue
Needham, MA 02492

Mass of Christian Burial
September 5, 2023

10:00 AM
St. Joseph Church 1360 Highland Ave, Needham

September 5, 2023

11:30 AM
Milton Cemetery
211 Centre Street
Milton, MA 02186


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