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Luke J. Gill

Posted By Hall-Wynne On May 10, 2015 @ 12:20 pm In Durham,Obituaries | 41 Comments

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

Condolences for the family of “Luke J. Gill”

Condolence from Michael Zettler on May 10th, 2015 4:31 pm

Luke served the nation, the Air Force, the logistics community with great distinction. He was a leader among leaders for airman to general. He was always a positive example of how to be a maintainer and build teamwork. He earned the maintainer badge and wore it by living what it means. The LOA is today what it is because of his vision and perpetual support. We will miss him tremendously. Luke, may you rest in peace amongst the angels with the Lord.
Donna and family, we hold you dear in our hearts–always. You were always the bright smile that shown so brilliantly around the beaming Luke. You were the light of his life. I remember dinner at your family table some 28 years ago in San Antonio—you and Luke raised an inspirational family. God Bless you in this trying time. You are in our prayers.
Mike and Elaine Zettler

Condolence from Donna Gill on April 18th, 2018 8:54 pm

I hope this finds you, Elaine and your family well.
The date since Luke’s passing is coming up on 3 yrs…May 8th. Ironically, only today I found your message and I am touched. I thank you for the warmth of your words. As a result of the Southwest Airlines accident, I was motivated to google Luke and the obituary came up. Call me crazy to have done that… I know, but I am terribly grateful for the opportunity to see your greeting; I would not have otherwise seen it.
I believe we had a great life, in all the environs we experienced together.
Warm regards, Donna

Condolence from Harry Gregory on May 10th, 2015 9:06 pm

Donna and family,
Please accept my heartfelt sympathy and deepest condolences.
Luke was a great friend, an inspirational leader, and a true patriot.
God bless and keep you,

Condolence from Donna Gill on April 18th, 2018 9:07 pm

Harry, I only just found evidence of your warm message. Luke enjoyed you, respected you and valued your friendship. We are about to recognize the third year since his passing. I must admit that typically in his positive spirit, he not only convinced his Doctor in the Bone Marrow unit at Duke that he would persevere, but despite the incredible difficulties of a Stem Cell Transplant, I too was convinced he would succeed. I must admit, the ground fell out from beneath the staff and me, when the Dr said he was out of tricks in his bag to help Luke.
I wish you and your family well and thank you for your kind message.

Condolence from Ed Andrade on May 11th, 2015 9:28 am

Donna and family,
Janie and I send our heartfelt sympathy to you and your family. I worked for Luke while you all were stationed at Kelly AFB, Texas. I have fond memories of his great leadership and a boss who I enjoyed working for and to follow. We pray for his eternal rest and for comfort for you and your family during this difficult time. God Bless.

Condolence from Bertha Wilson on May 11th, 2015 10:09 am

I worked for Luke for several years at LM as his assistant. He was very inspiring, motivated me to excel and to never give up. When I talked to him a couple of weeks ago he was comforting me and he wasn’t giving up and I should never give up. He will be missed. My deepest sympathy to the family and Donna. He said to me Donna is my rock and keeps me going. He was deep in his faith and the love of his family.
Prayers to all.

Condolence from Maria Cristina Gonzalez on May 11th, 2015 11:28 am

My sympathies to all the family during this difficult time. What a wonderful man and amazing life. I have had the honor to call Mindy a dear friend and I see where she got her wit and loving personality, not to mention her dedication and work ethic. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

Condolence from Jim & Eileen Tubridy .Cooraclare.Co.Clare Ireland on May 11th, 2015 7:12 pm

Sincere Sympathy to all the Family on Luke’s Death .
You are in our thoughts & prayers.
Jim & Eileen

Condolence from Skip & Cindy on May 11th, 2015 7:30 pm

Dearest Donna & Gill Family,
Our heartfelt sympathy for such a wonderful man & Brother-in-law.
He was a happy, funny, caring man and together Donna, you and Luke raise a close, loving family. I’m sure Mom & Dad Daly are waiting in heaven for one of his ever famous margaritas. May God above, Mother Mary and all the angels watch over you, during this very hard time.
Love & prayers

Condolence from Amy & Dave Sanchez on May 11th, 2015 11:07 pm

Dave and I are heartbroken at Mr. Gill’s passing. Our most deepest sympathies go to Mrs. Gill and their amazing children . He will be sorely missed. We love you Min.

Condolence from Annette Legg on May 11th, 2015 11:19 pm

My thoughts and prayers are with you all during this time of sorrow. May God Bless you and keep you strong.

Condolence from Martha Delgado on May 12th, 2015 12:30 am

To Mindy and the entire Gill family, although I did not know your father personally, I can only imagine the kind of man he was by to have helped raise such a wonderful daughter. May God be with your family during this difficult time my condolences to each one of you and may your father test in eternal peace.

Condolence from Wilburn Hancock on May 12th, 2015 7:12 am

I only met him briefly, but by his bearing you could tell there was substance of character in him. He had a bearing of dignity in a situation that offered little natural opportunity for such.
I watched posts for updates, looking for the good news of full remission.
The measure of a man has been said to be how he acts though great adversity, from what I saw, Col. Gill was a great man.
My sincerest consolations to his family. In the one daughter I met, it was obvious great parents had built a great family.
Wilburn L. Hancock, Jr
(Son of Wilburn L Hancock, St, also treated at Duke)

Condolence from Mike Kelly on May 12th, 2015 9:20 am

Dear Donna and family,
Please accept my condolences on Luke’s passing. During the time we worked together I came to know Luke as a smart and funny logistics professional as well as a caring family man. Luke was a legend in our business and will be missed by many. Our prayers are with you.

Condolence from Kimberly Gavaletz on May 12th, 2015 10:15 am

Luke Gill was a blessing to many. Most closely his family of course, but he gave his all in his service to his country and to every customer he ever supported. I was fortunate to meet Luke when I moved to Fort Worth in 2006 and he was one of the first people to make me feel welcome and to offer his assistance and friendship. While at a meeting at Southwest Airlines in 2011, my team received a special assignment and I knew we needed to rally the best team to support an immediate quick turn plan and implementation effort. It was not lost on me that I was at Southwest for an unrelated meeting and saw God’s helping hand pointing the way to Luke. I called late one week and he arrived early the next one ready to jump in and led the way on a difficult challenge (which delivered just what the customer needed ). He was a Godsend and a blessing to us all. He will be remembered fondly by many and we look forward to a heavenly reunion and an eternity of friendship.

Condolence from Susan (Weyel) Krudwig on May 12th, 2015 5:11 pm

Ms. Gill & family. Breaks my heart to hear of your loss. Loved working for Col Gill at Kelly. My prayers to all as you go through the grief process. He was one of the best and surely is in God’s presence. God Bless to all.

Condolence from William DB Swezey on May 12th, 2015 9:12 pm

It was with great sadness that I learned of Luke’s passing. I first met Luke In Germany in the early 1970s. He was on the USAFE IG Team and my outfit was one he inspected. I may have been the first person in the Air Force to give Luke a “Hymn” after he debriefed my squadron. He never did forget that. It was given with the utmost respect and humor because that’s what Luke was all about. Since the munitions field in the Air Force was so small ,we kept running into each other through out our careers finally converging at the Air Staff in the mid 80s. Luke was such a credit to our munitions business and the welfare of the AMMO troops. He left a large footprint in the lives of many Munitions/ Maintenance Officers which will never be forgotten or erased. With sincerest sympathy to Luke’s family, warmest regards. Bill Swezey

Condolence from Steve Cornelison on May 13th, 2015 2:38 pm

Donna, saddened is but a minor word at best on my hearing of Luke’s passing while speaking to Patty Glosson by phone yesterday.

I wish I could be there to give you a hug and to give you my regrets personally. I know that Luke was into his fight well before my leaving Croasdaile so it is no surprise that he fought a valiant headon battle until his passing.

I am so happy to have had the opportunity to serve him as an employee and to have had the times to enjoy his stories and to as well have his ear when asked in discussing the direction of the club from a members perspective . Croasdaile moved up a notch when it had the pleasure of adding both of you to its membership ranks,and as such I know he will be missed by all his fellow members and its employees that knew him.

Again, I wish I was there to give you my respects for Luke in person but please know that you are in my thoughts and heart.

In respect and friendship,
Steve Cornelison

Condolence from Donald G. Searles on May 13th, 2015 9:45 pm

Donna, my deepest condolences. From the time I met Luke, he mentored me and looked out for me. From pulling me to the Headquarters United States Air Force in Europe, to Minot AFB North Dakota, to the Air Force Manpower and Personnel Center, to the Pentagon, and finally to Director of Systems Engineering and Integration–and his deputy–he was looking out for me. It didn’t matter that I didn’t particularly want any of those jobs–he knew they were good for me and would help my career. I’m sure it didn’t hurt that i was his replacement at least twice! I never knew a better people person, a man that understand that all success comes from helping people and maintaining an active network. Luke also turned me on to long distance running when he conned me into a “little run” in the midst of a howling blizzard at Chanute Air Force Base, Illinois. I had never run further than a mile–he dragged me for three freezing, long, miles. He was a consummate politician who always looked out for, and demanded excellence for those around him. I owe most of my career success to Luke. I know you and your extended family are missing Luke, but I hope you know he had a positive impact on all the people he met. He’s enjoying the glory of the Lord, now.

Condolence from Kathleen Sputzy Sparrow Fisher on May 14th, 2015 9:08 am

Donna, and Family and Paul
My sympathies are with all of you. I understand your grief.

Condolence from John “Jay” Mathews on May 14th, 2015 11:34 am

I met 2nd Lt Luke Gill when he was assigned to the 479th MMS at George AFB in 1964 or 65.(The stories I could tell!) We never worked together after that, but maintained contact through the years. He was one of about five officers I worked with in my 33 years in the USAF that I had the greatest respect for. He was an enlisted man’s officer and for sure a gentleman. It is with great sadness that I send sympathy to Donna and family.

Condolence from Gerry from Carrigaholt, Co. Clare. Ireland on May 14th, 2015 5:33 pm

My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. Though I never met Luke he sounds just like you….GREAT.
Love to Mary Ann and all the family.

Condolence from Don and Mary Ellen Pyka, San Antonio,TX on May 17th, 2015 1:09 am

Donna and Family,

We were very sad to hear about Luke. When I worked for him at Kelly AFB, I was always impressed with his hard work, integrity, and complete understanding of the mission and the best way to get it done. It was a joy working for such a capable, happy, and helpful boss. We missed you both when we left for Davis-Monthan, AFB, He talked me into taking the job, and it turned out to be a great adventure. I could never thank him enough for that. I know how much you must miss him but I know he is with the Lord now and still looking out for us all. We are sending our thoughts and prayers for you and your family.

Don and Mary Ellen

Condolence from BOB KRUDWIG on May 17th, 2015 12:07 pm


Condolence from Linda Patton (Morrow) on May 17th, 2015 12:24 pm

Donna and Family – I had the privilege of working for your husband/ father in the Engines Diectorate at Kelly AFB. He gave me my first job in the “logistics/technical world” when I had only worked my way up the ladder in the administrative world. That assignment was a “huge” step because women had not been accepted in the logistics/technical world unless they had grown up in that community. Col Gill was such a special person. Hewas a tough, military leader but also had such great interpersonal skills that he gained the respect of everyone that worked for him and inspired us all to do our best at accomplishing the mission and the goals of the organization.
I’m so sorry for your loss and understand that aren’t any words that will help ease the grief other than just reminding each of you how proud he was of each member of his family and the life you had together.

Condolence from Max Davis on May 21st, 2015 10:38 pm

I had the pleasure of working with Luke at both the Thomas Group as well as our most recent venture, The Boulder Group. Luke’s sharp but always surprising sense of humor as well as his extensive personal contacts and knowledge of the Air Force and defense inner workings were always very much appreciated. Luke faithfully attended our bi-weekly meetings even (as we learned later) when he was in the hospital. I very much enjoyed the projects that we were able to work on together and will always remember Luke very fondly. My sincerest condolences to Donna and their family.

Condolence from Moises Gonzales on May 29th, 2015 10:21 am

With a heavy and sadden Heart , I am sending my deepest condolence , for a friend and a boss , when he worked at Southwest Airlines, please know that my prayer and thoughts are for Luke’s family. My God bless his soul.
Moises (Gonzo)

Condolence from Bev Sandlin, Southwest Airlines Maintenance on May 29th, 2015 11:20 am

Dear Donna and family, I am so sad to hear about the loss of your dear husband Luke and father of your children. What a beautiful obituary……….he was always nice to me, and learned my name! We recently had another Senior VP, who was not as friendly as Luke. Sounds like he did well for himself after leaving SWA, I am glad about that.

Take care, and remember, some day you will meet him again in Heaven!

Bev Sandlin, Southwest Airlines Maintenance (or Tech Ops), as we now are called.

Condolence from Lillian Delenne Lex on June 2nd, 2015 6:31 pm

Donna, Paul and family,

Luke was one of the first friend’s I made when we moved to Charles Street when we were just small children. We met again in 9th grade at DeSale. He was a good friend through high school. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you during this sad time.

God speed dear friend.


Condolence from Connie Serapiglia on June 3rd, 2015 11:05 am

So very sad to hear the news. Luke and I were the same age and cousins. We got to know each other much better when I entered 9th grade at St. Francis DeSales and that friendship grew over the years. Many letters as his Air Force career grew and those wonderful Christmas cards that always came after Christmas. Memories from over the years that bring a smile. My thoughts and prayers are with you Donna, and the family. He truly does leave an amazing legacy.

God bless.

Condolence from Nan Anderson Potetz on June 3rd, 2015 3:15 pm

Dear Donna,
Even though I only met you once at the 2006 DeSales Reunion I’ve know Luke for many years. The last thing he said to me that night was, “how in the hell did Bee Nickles get taller than me?”
I send my sympathy and heartfelt condolences to you and your family.
God bless all of you during this very sad time.

Condolence from Mary K. Serapiglia on June 4th, 2015 12:50 pm

Luke was my Mom’s (Connie Pat) cousin and visited whenever he was in the area. When I was very young I remember coming in from outside playing and seeing Luke visiting my Mom. Not seeing any car in the driveway I’d ask “How’d he get here?” He always said “…I parachuted in….” (not understanding taxis went to the suburbs!)
Still remember the koala bear stuff animals and boomerangs you gave me and my brothers and sister when you visited. You said they came all the way from Australia and almost 50 years later I still believe it!

Condolence from Janet Ramaglia Nudi on June 4th, 2015 5:05 pm

Donna, I have just learned this sad news about Luke. I grew up 2 doors down from Luke and his family on Boquet St. We went all through DeSales together and I used to call him My brother. As you know, the gang of us that all hung out together lived within a several block area. He was always such a nice guy and everyone of us enjoyed his company. I have many great memories of all of us, just hanging out, just like one big family. I am at a loss for words to you. He has a great family and I know that you and your family will be surrounded with his love. Many prayers to you and fond memories from me. Janet.

Condolence from Kathleen Cannon, O.P. on June 10th, 2015 3:39 pm

Dear Donna and family,
I was so sorry to receive the news of Luke’s death. He certainly was courageous in the face of his sickness but then he was that way in so many things. In his last email
to me he was almost flippant about his illness. There was never anything that was
insurmountable for Luke. In some sense he brushed off his many accomplishments
and if he ever bragged about anything, it was Donna, his children and grandchildren.
I am sure you will feel his absence very keenly. Please know you have my sympathy
and prayers that your memories will be a source of comfort.
Kathleen Cannon

Condolence from Sylvia Andrews on August 17th, 2015 4:16 pm

My most heartfelt condolences, Donna, to you and your family.
Your friends at Mira Vista are thinking of you.

Condolence from Amy fox on August 17th, 2015 6:48 pm

I am so sorry to hear about Luke. I hope you know that you and your family are iny prayers! Let me know if I can do anything for you. I wrote something earlier but not sure if it got sent.

Condolence from Tuan Nguyen on November 15th, 2015 4:44 pm

Dear Donna – I just heard about Luke from John Fuller yesterday. I am so sorry for your loss. Luke was a mentor, a teacher and a dear friend. I regretted not keeping in touch. Last time we spoke was when he just started G Squares Consulting. Heaven’s logistics organizations just gained a true leader. God Bless to you and your family.
Tuan and Bic Nguyen

Condolence from Steve Glovier on December 10th, 2015 5:34 pm

Donna, my deepest sympathies and condolences to you and Luke’s family.

I’m honored to have known Luke and will be forever blessed for his kindness and friendship.

Steve Glovier
Mobile – 412-818-2182

Condolence from Jim on April 5th, 2016 3:40 pm

To the entire Gill Family and extended family members: I am so sorry for your loss and the departure of Luke. He was special Officer, Father, Mentor and friend, This world was a better place because he was in it and in your lives. Luke was a rare person who could be comfortable no matter where he was. However, he also could put those of around him at ease also, We were truly blessed to have known him, and better people to have him in our lives.. Rest in peace Luke Gill.

Condolence from Charlie Saunders on August 26th, 2016 11:19 am

Donna, so sorry to hear about the death of Col.Gill. As an old retired guy now, I first met you and the Col. at D-M. He was a true mentor and always the troops DCM. He took this crew chief and mentored me to accept the job as Protocol Superintendent at the Air Division. I told him, “I’m a Crew Chief. I can’t do that protocol stuff!”. He said to me, “Yes Charlie, you are a Crew Chief…That’s why you can do anything.” Needless to say, you know the route I took. Even after we went to different assignments, he was always still there for me. Donna, God Bless you and I will never forget Luke.

Condolence from Terry Records on December 15th, 2018 6:40 pm

My heart goes out to you and your family today. After many years, Donna and I reconnected today and I learned of Luke’s passing. You and your family are amazing and touched my life is a very special way. Your light still shines in that amazing family you left here for your next mission.
Cheers Luke! I still feel guilty when I watched your home while you were out of town, drank your tequila and set up gags throughout the house.
Hugs..Terry Records

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