Robert C. Gill

Following is the obituary for ROBERT C. GILL, submitted for the family by the Harding Funeral Home.

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Robert “Bob” Gill, a longtime Westport resident, passed away peacefully in his home on May 15, 2023. 

Robert was born in 1927 in Trenton, N.J., to Clarence and Jesse Gill.

He attended Trenton High School, where he excelled in diving, earning the state diving championship. Upon graduation, Robert enlisted in the U.S. Navy, becoming a pilot and served in the Pacific out of Hawaii’s Hickam Field until 1949. 

Upon his honorable discharge, Bob returned to New England where he was hired by American Airlines as a pilot based in New York City. He met and married his wife Olivia, at that time a stewardess for American, in 1953. Together they raised five children, and in 1963, moved to Westport. In 1964, Robert became a captain at American.

As a young man, Bob had enjoyed his time in the Boy Scouts, eventually earning their highest award, Eagle Scout. When his sons were old enough, he encouraged them to join Boy Scout Troop 36. Robert soon became the scoutmaster and spent much of his free time organizing and participating in the troop’s monthly hikes and campouts throughout Connecticut’s Appalachian Trail. He eventually led the troop to national and international jamborees. He took great pride in seeing his sons earn their Eagle Scout awards, as well as grandson Odin, and watching daughter Kirsten participate in Girl Scouts. Even after his children left scouting, he continued on for years with the troop. 

Robert was also an active board member of the Compo Beach Improvement Association, a member of the Westport Y’s Men Club and as a volunteer Red Cross driver.  

Robert also completed 20 years flying in the Naval Reserves, retiring as a commander. After 36 years with American, Captain Gill retired in 1987, having flown many of their aircraft types, including the Boeing 747 and the McDonald Douglas DC-10. He continued his love of aviation by piloting his Mooney 252, flying it all over the U.S. until he was 87. He was awarded the FAA’s Wilbur and Orville Wright “Master Pilot” safety award for 50 years of accident-free flying. He was very proud and honored to have his children take up professional flying with the major airlines, as well as seeing his granddaughter Amelia become a flight instructor. 

In retirement, Robert and Olivia enjoyed traveling the world by sea and air. He enjoyed physical fitness training, sailing and skiing. He marched in many Memorial Day parades as a scoutmaster, as well as in his Navy uniform. He was a member of the Grey Eagles, a retired American Airlines pilots’ organization, and was a member of the First Church of Christ Scientist Westport.

Robert is preceded in death by his parents, his brother and sister, and his oldest son Gary. He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Olivia, and their children, Robert of Hawaii, Jeffrey and Dana of Elgin, Ill., Steven and Sally of Exton, Pa., and Kirsten and Steve Bartie of Westport, and 10 grandchildren.

Bob was loved by many and will be missed by all, and his memory will be cherished. He was a great father, husband, leader and a true Scout at heart, living by the Scout slogan, “Do A Good Turn Daily.”

Funeral services will be held Sunday, May 21, at the Harding Funeral Home in Westport, with viewing starting at 10:30 a.m. and the funeral service beginning at 12 noon.