MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Obituaries

March 20, 2013

Bruce W. Gilfillan

1951-2013

— “I’m a true Okie from Muskogee,” Bruce Gilfillan once said.  But lots of stories didn’t make it into the Merle Haggard classic, and a few of them must have belonged to Bruce.  Those close to him knew a renaissance man and humanitarian with a tremendous zest for life.  A devout Christian, Bruce was also a very gifted and talented musician and recording artist, as well as an ultrasound technologist, paramedic, model train collector, gun collector, charity man, card-carrying Santa Claus – Bruce saw no boundaries to his passions.

Bruce passed from this life on Monday, March 18, 2013 at age 61.  He was preceded in death by his father, Elmer Gilfillan and mother, Mary (Ridge) Gilfillan.  He is survived by those who cherish his memory:  the love of his life, wife, Pam (Champlain) Gilfillan; two daughters, Karen Gilfillan of Tulsa and Jennifer Gilfillan of Broken Arrow; grandchildren Brittanie, Zachary and Ryan; brothers, Richard Shepler Jr. and wife, Barbara, of Muskogee, Robert Gilfillan and wife, Anna of Muskogee; sisters, Mary Lou Berryhill and husband, Kenneth, of Muskogee, Donna Stover of Sapulpa, Virginia Sloan and husband, Bill, of Whitney, Texas; as well as nieces, nephews, and many cherished friends.

Born December 6, 1951, Bruce quickly became interested in medical work.  He observed his mother at work as a nurse and midwife. By the ninth grade, he was volunteering at Muskogee’s V.A. Hospital.  It was there that he realized that helping people gave him satisfaction and joy. After high school Bruce interrupted his Pre-Nursing education at Bacone College to join the U.S. Air Force for service in the latter phase of the Vietnam War.  After educating himself on his return, Bruce became employed at Muskogee’s very first ambulance service and later became Assistant Director for the Muskogee County EMS where he was a vital part of its early history and helped in its start to becoming the outstanding EMS service that it is today.  

As a mobile ultrasound technologist, Bruce examined hearts and found time to give from his own.  When he donned his Santa suit and hoisted a toy-filled bag over his shoulder, the magic took over.  One asthma-stricken five-year-old boy at Stilwell Memorial Hospital saw Santa enter the ER, and immediately climbed onto his lap to tell him what he wanted for Christmas.  It turned out that his request – a Noah’s Ark full of toy animals – was in the bag.

Bruce also enjoyed being an Indian Territory Marshal whose organization taught gun safety and also raised money for disadvantaged seniors in our Muskogee Nursing Homes. He was an excellent and skilled artist and always gave his favorite pictures to his family and friends.  

Bruce Gilfillan lived a life of worthy missions, and left a legacy of love and caring. And through that legacy, the music is sure to play on.  

Bruce was a member of Christian Chapel Church, Muskogee, OK.  Services will be there at 10:00 a.m. Friday, March 22, 2013.  Interment will be at Greenhill Cemetery, Muskogee, OK.

 

1
Text Only
Obituaries
AP Video
Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii
Poll

Should a federal judge have the power to strike down Oklahoma's ban on gay marriage?

Yes
No
     View Results
Featured Ads
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Stocks