Luke J. Gill, aged 72, born June 14, 1942 in McKees Rocks, PA, passed away Friday afternoon at home following complications from a Leukemia targeted Stem Cell Transplant. His wife Donna and his children and close family friends supported and encouraged Luke as he passed on to heaven. Luke fought unrelentingly over the past two years; however, the challenge proved insurmountable. He is survived by Jenniffer and Jeff Madson & son Zachary, Melinda and Rick Hill & daughters Heidi & Audrey, Jonathan and Alison Gill & daughters Genevieve & Josephine, Matthew Gill and Amy Schmid & newborn Johanna Clare born Monday, May 4 at 11:09PM, a fact not lost on Luke who survived to meet his newest granddaughter. He is also survived by brother Paul and wife MaryAnne, numerous nieces, nephews and cousins, and Quinnlan, resident Irish Setter.
Son of a steel mill worker and an Irish émigré, Luke graduated from University of Pittsburgh’s USAF ROTC program with a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Engineering. He received a Distinguished Alumni award in 2009, and also earned a Master of Arts in Business from Webster University.
Luke ascended to the rank of Colonel and served his country for 25 years in the USAF as a Maintenance and Logistics Officer, with assignments stateside, and remote tours in Korea, Europe, and Vietnam, for which he was awarded the Bronze Star. Widely admired for his leadership skills and integrity, Luke reminisced often and fondly of his years of service to his country and the incredible men and women who influenced his own leadership style.
After retiring, Luke worked in various senior roles in commercial aviation at Continental and Northwest Airlines, and ultimately, at Southwest Airlines as Vice President for Maintenance and Engineering. He proceeded to become Vice President Joint Strike Fighter/F35 Product Development at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company. He joined Thomas Group Consulting in 2005 as Executive Vice President prior to founding G Squared Limited, an aerospace consulting firm, in 2007.
Luke and Donna experienced 23 moves and encountered steadfast friends along the way. Luke was a master joke and storyteller whose tales became funnier with each sip of his worldfamous margaritas. He was absolutely devoted to his wife, Donna; their love story that sparked 45 years of marriage is one of the best ever told.
Luke USAF Colonel, Business Leader, Mixologist, BelowAverage Golfer, Storyteller, Friend, Husband, Father and Grandfather will be dearly missed, but leaves an amazing legacy that reflects all the goodness of him.
The family will be present 5-8 pm Monday at Hall-Wynne Funeral Service, 1113 West Main St., Durham. Luke’s funeral mass will be held at 10 am Tuesday at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Durham. Burial with military honors will follow at St. Matthew Catholic Church Cemetery, Durham. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Irish Setter Rescue of North TX, Inc. 4201 Crest Ct., Aledo, TX 76008. Online condolences at www.hallwynne.com