August 23 2017: GILLESPIE, James Pittard

James P. Gillespie - Author

James Pittard Gillespie

James Pittard Gillespie died peacefully in his sleep on August 19, 2017.  He was born in 1931 in Beijing, China to loving parents and Baptist missionaries Arthur and Pauline Gillespie.  He and his three brothers spent much of their childhood moving between mainland China and the southern part of the U.S. In his early life, James often lamented that being born in China meant he could never be president, but despite the sting of this early set back he went on to earn a Bachelor of Science from Wake Forest University in 1953, and a Master of Science from the University of Tennessee in botany in 1955. In 1970, he earned a Ph D in education from Vanderbilt University. He worked for the Maryland Department of Education and Carroll County Public Schools in the decades that followed. He also taught at various learning institutions, including Essex Community College, Stevenson University, and Frederick Community College. James loved teaching field biology and telling stories, and was often happiest when hiking along a mountain trail or standing in a field of wildflowers trying to ID a plant. He was an avid Amateur Radio operator, using the call letters K3DQ to talk to other “hams” all over the world. He also used Morse code to communicate every night with his identical twin brother, Arthur in N.C. James also enjoyed photographing nature using the many modern and antique cameras he collected and learning to play various musical instruments, including a guitar he refurbished by hand.  He wrote a memoir: Around the World and Headed South, Growing Up a Twin and a Missionary Kid. James is survived by his wife of 60 years, Marilyn, their three children (Laine, Craig and Alison), two grandchildren (Sam and Grace) his brothers, Paul and David. A memorial service will be held at 2pm on August 26, 2017 at Bedford Court Sr. Living Community in Silver Spring, MD. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Montgomery Hospice.

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Francis J. Collins Funeral Home, Inc.
500 University Blvd. West
Silver Spring, MD 20901

Phone: 301.593.9500