William Lee Gills III, 75, of West Hartford, CT died unexpectedly on Tuesday, January 17, 2023. Born on May 8, 1947, “Billy”, as friends and family knew him, was a lifelong resident of West Hartford. Son of the late William Gills Jr. and Pauline (Niles) Gills, Bill was a graduate of Conard High School and later of Randolph-Macon College in VA. He was both humbled and honored to be a direct descendent of the Mayflower, as well as a member of the Sons of the American Revolution.
Bill leaves behind Candace (Manner), his high school sweetheart, best friend, and beloved wife of 53 years. He is also survived by his son, William Gills IV of Simsbury, CT; his daughter-in-law Julie Gills; his grandchildren, Will and Kate Gills; his sisters, Charlotte Graham (Billy) and Cynthia Bushey (Paul); his sisters-in-law, Connie Manner and Diana Manner, along with many cherished nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. He was predeceased by his loving daughter Martha Gills and brother-in-law Eric Manner.
Bill had an immense talent for and love of music. An avid guitarist and drummer, he was an active member of the Conard High School band. After college, he spent time as the lead singer and guitarist of his own band, performing in public venues around town. Bill later marched as a drummer in the 18th Simsbury Fife and Drum Corps, a hobby he loved.
Bill loved the ocean. When not pursuing his successful career as the Administrative Director of DAS for The State of CT, he and Candace spent much of their free time on their boat, exploring the waters of Block Island, Mystic, and Napatree Point. He was a published author, writing about his sailing adventures on their aptly named powerboat, “Up to the Gills”.
Despite his many talents and interests, perhaps Bill will be remembered most for his engaging personality, curiosity, and amazing ability to connect with others. The light he brought to every conversation, combined with the genuine interest and care he showed to those around him was remarkable. Bill’s intelligent, somewhat quirky sense of humor will be missed, as will his welcoming countenance and the unhindered delight he took in witnessing the successes of those dear to him – particularly those of his grandchildren, two of his greatest joys. Without exception, Bill has left an indelible mark on the hearts of the people he knew and loved.
Heartfelt thanks to the ICU at UConn Hospital for their unrelenting care and compassion. Calling Hours will be Tuesday, (January 24th) from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Sheehan Hilborn Breen Funeral Home, 1084 New Britain Avenue, West Hartford. A funeral service will be Wednesday, (January 25th) at 11:30 a.m. at the funeral home. Burial will be private. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to World Central Kitchen, www.wck.org. Online condolences may be made at www.SheehanHilbornBreen.com