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A Wetzel and Son Obituary for:
Harry J. Gillich Sr.
November 27, 1943 - January 3, 2021


Contacts

Funeral Home - Wetzel and Son Funeral Home - 419 Huntingdon Pike, Rockledge, PA 19046 - 215-663-8550 - Map
Donation - Charity of the donor’s choice

Harry J. Gillich Sr. of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania died Sunday, January 3, 2021 at Nazareth Hospital. He was 77 years old. Harry was born November 27, 1943 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, son of the late John Gillich and the late Anna Margaret Gillich (nee - Kleitsch). He is the beloved husband of 58 years Marian Gillich (nee Kuhlmeier); father of Kathy Chasteen and her husband the late Houston; Harry Gillich and his wife Becky, John Gillich and his wife Janet, and Laura Focht and her husband Brian; grandfather of Aubrey, Kelli, Krista, Jenna, Greta, John Jr., Justin, Jason, Jacob, Brittany, Alyssa; great grandfather of three. He is the brother of Betty Ann Tracey and John Gillich.

Harry was born, raised, and educated in Northeast Philadelphia. He and Marian met as teenagers through mutual friends. They were married at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Lawncrest section of Philadelphia June 2, 1962. He worked for many years as a personal driver at the Almac Group, an Irish pharmaceutical group with offices in Souderton, PA. Harry enjoyed golf and bowling in his free time.

Services were private due to Covid-19 restrictions. The family will have a facebook live session for those who can stream from home: https://fb.me/e/h3ZxuAdQp

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to your favorite charity.

The following eulogy was shared by his family:

How do you sum up a person's life in one speech? Who would ever think that someone who was so full of life and someone who touched so many lives would dare to leave this life and leave us with only memories. But because of who he was, these memories will sustain all of us forever.
Harry grew up in a typical North East Philly family setting. He loved his older sister, Betty Ann and his younger brother John who was his side kick and the best friend he could ever ask for. Harry loved telling stories about his childhood antics, the things he thought he got away with and about the friends he made along the way.
Sometime around the early sixties, Harry met Marian when they were teenagers hanging out with a large group of friends from the neighborhood. They knew a lot of the same people. A union was formed and these friends joined the Gillich family and Kuhlmeier family as they all celebrated and supported the marriage of Harry and Marian.
Harry and Marian started having children right away and had 4 kids. But they were outdone by their siblings. Betty Ann had 6 kids and Bob and Terry had 7. Adding the 3 kids from his "Aunt Eva" created 16 kids that called him "Uncle Harry". Harry loved being with family. His parents Anna and John, his siblings, Betty Ann and Frank and John and Kathy, Marian's parents, Eleanor/Matilda and Bob and her siblings, Bob and Terry. He especially loved all the kids. He made everyone feel important, loved, and welcome. He loved telling jokes (as knee slappers), playing games, teaching everyone how to play cards, and always kept everyone happy. All the cousins would get together often for birthdays, holidays, and backyard BBQ's and pool parties. They would throw everyone in the cars and take them to the lake or down the shore for day trips.
This love and fun extended to even more people as time went on. As Harry's 4 kids grew, they brought many friends into their home. They all loved "Dad". He became very popular with the grade school kids as the house was across the street from the school. Often times, Harry and his brother John would stand out side to watch the kids go to school. The waving goodby turned into lots of joking and laughing that made all the kids and even some of the teachers smile and say "who are those guys?". Harry worked nights during this period but he would make sure he was up for the morning routine. He would then get some sleep and get up again because the kids would come home for lunch. He is fondly remembered for his chicken noodle soup, tomato soup and grilled cheese, or (old faithful) - peanut butter and jelly sandwhich lunches. The best part was being allowed to eat lunch on the living room steps while watching TV! Harry made everyone that came into his life feel special. From all the little friends that hung out in the back yard all the way up to the college kids that would come home to spend a weekend in Philly. He would put them to work at the many Beef and Beers he would sponsor for fund raisers and they would talk about the fun they had for years!
When his kids married, there was no such thing as an "In-law". The husbands and wives were his new son's and daughters which he embraced with as much love and devotion as he did with original "4". He quickly befriended his new "kids" families and warmly welcomed them into the Gillich family.
Harry and Marian always had tons of friends and their friends were involved in everything! After their kids were grown, friends and family would get together and plan their yearly event, no kids allowed. This went on for many years. 15 cruises and trips to Las Vegas, Hawaii, New Orleans. A lot of these friends were associated with Joan and Hermans tavern where Harry was the Bartender. Marian was the organizer. She would be on the phone for months working out the best deals possible to get the most out of each trip. There was also a lively weekend trip to the mountains every year. (Skiing was not on the agenda, use your imagination for planned activies for this bar crowd) The accomodations were rustic but no one cared. They all loved being together. The guys (20 to 30 of them) would get together for annual deep sea fishing trips and golf outings in North and South Carolina. One year, a huge Winnebego was parked outside the house and got loaded up with the guys going somewhere for a week! Later in life Harry retired from bartending. He went right back to work and became a driver for all the top executives at Almac Pharmaceutical. Not skipping a beat, Harry became a beloved employee and coworker which created a whole new set of friends! He loved his job and fondly talked about all the people he met and places he drove to. A few years ago, Harry and Marian moved from their home and downsized into an apartment. In typical form, they quickly became friends with other residents while attending functions held by the complex.
Everyone had nicknames. Harry was Harry O or just "O". Brother John was "pants". Betty Ann was "Sally Jessie". Harry Jr was "little O". There was Henny, Stork, Poleman, Jim Bo, Chuckles, Buddy, Cush.
Question: Where's Dad?
Answers: If it's Monday morning, he is golfing. Sunday morning in the summer, he fishing/crabbing. Thursday was the Bowling league. Friday night was Pinochle night. Sunday afternoon was football or baseball on TV.
Questions: What's wrong with the bathroom sink? What happened to the back door? Why is the toilet making that noise?
Answer: Dad "fixed" it. Oh, ok.

Last but not least, the grandchildren. Harry and Marian were blessed with 11 wonderful grandchildren and everyone saw that the child in Harry was still present. You couldn't help smiling while watching him with the grandkids. They all called him Poppy and always wanted to show him their toys and sit on his lap, and talk to him. They loved when he would make up silly songs to sing or funny things to repeat and how to tell knee slapper jokes. His twelfth grandchild, Bingo, his dog, was a favorite with all the grandkids. Casey his cat was his last pet and loved as well.
Harry will surely be missed by Marian most of all. They had quite an adventure together after 58 years of marriage.
Thanks for the memories. You will never be forgotten.


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