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326 Terry St, Longmont
CO 80501
Phone: (303) 776-2313
James Gillen
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Ahlberg Funeral Chapel and Crematory
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Obituary for James P. "Jim" Gillen

James P. "Jim"  Gillen
James P. (Jim) Gillen
Feb 10 1932- 10/29/2018
Jim was born in Canon City, CO, to Marion T. and Martha Viola (Benson) Gillen. He had three brothers, Timothy, (Tim), Herbert (Bud), and William (Bill). All preceded him in death. Jim also had three sisters, Martha June Gehringer, of Chicago, IL Alice Mae Scheiding of San Jose, CA, and Margaret Jane, who died as an infant.
Jim attended school in the Canon City system, graduating from Canon City High School in 1950. While in high school, he was active in drama, music and R.O.T.C..
Upon graduation, Jim attended Sterling College in Sterling, Kansas for two years. He was then drafted into the army and served two years, most of it in the far East on the island of Okinawa with the 29th Regiment Combat Team.
Jim re-entered Sterling College upon his discharge from the army, but transferred to Colorado State College of Education (later named University of Northern Colorado) to complete his undergraduate degree in 1957. He received his Master’s degree from Colorado State College of Education in 1960.
Jim worked at the Royal Gorge in the summers of 1955 and 1956. While working at Royal Gorge, Jim met Martha Lee White, who was to become his wife. Martha and Jim were married on August 17, 1957 at the First Methodist Church in Canon City.
After a brief honeymoon in Grand Lake, CO, they both reported to work for the Longmont school system. Martha taught 3rd grade at Lincoln [Elementary School] and Jim taught at Longmont High School. Jim taught U.S. History and Government for 32 years. He retired in 1991.
Jim not only enjoyed teaching about the U.S. government, but he was actively involved in politics at all levels of government. He served on the Longmont City Council from 1969 to 1973. While on the Council, he served on the Planning and Zoning Commission, the Firemen’s Pension Board, and was also liaison to the state government.
As a part of “his real mission as a teacher”, Jim involved the students enrolled in this Government classes in several programs related to public service in the realms of local, state and national governments. As part of his ‘Close Up’ program, Jim took about 25 students to Washington, D.C. for a week-long immersion in all aspects of our national government. Jim hosted these trips yearly for 17 years. He also took his students to the Colorado State capitol for a one day dose of Colorado politics and government.
While serving on Longmont City Council, Jim created a local program, similar to the national ‘Close Up’ experience. In this program, students learned about positions at all levels of the Longmont City government. On Student Government Day, students assumed those positions. The St. Vrain River Trail is a product of the policies initiated by students and executed by the Longmont City Council.
Jim loved working with the Longmont High School boys’ sports. He kept the scorebooks and statistics for basketball and football, teaming up with long-time coach Gil Everly.
Jim was a lifelong member of the Presbyterian Church, having joined Central Presbyterian Church in Longmont in 1957. He served as president of the American Field Service, coordinated international student exchanges for the Kiwanis Club, and was a lifetime member of the Longmont Elks Lodge.
Following retirement, Jim devoted his time to his favorite hobbies: golf and coin-collecting. He was an active member of the Front Range Coin Club of Longmont.
Jim is survived by his wife, Martha, two children and three grandchildren. Son John and his children, John Jr. and Riley, live in California. Daughter Carolyn and her daughter, Zoe, divide their time between Lafayette, CO, and Dallas, TX.
Memorial service will be held 10:00 a.m. on Friday, November 9 at CENTRALongmont Presbyterian Church. A reception will follow at The Post Brewing Co. in Lafayette from 2-7:00 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Trail Winds Hospice.

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(303) 776-2313 326 Terry St, Longmont CO 80501 | Phone: (303) 776-2313