Lawrence D. Gill was born to Myrtle Frances Olsen and Hubert Samuel Gill in the midst of the Great Depression on May 24, 1934, in Pocatello, Idaho. Larry’s father, Hubert, was born in London, England, and immigrated to Canada with his widowed mother and two sisters when he was twelve years old. Larry’s parents were honest, hardworking, faithful people. Larry had two older brothers, Keith and Leo. The family was strengthened and empowered by a deep, never-wavering faith in Jesus Christ.
Larry graduated with honors from Pocatello High School in 1952. Upon graduation from high school, he chose to attend Columbia College in New York City because they awarded him their national scholarship. At Columbia, Larry rowed varsity crew for all four years. During this time, Larry was an active member of the Manhattan Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In New York City, Larry met Mary Jean Clark who was living there while her mother, Hazel, attended Teachers College, Columbia. One of their first dates was attending the Thanksgiving Macy Day Parade. Larry and Mary loved reminiscing about their meeting and dating in New York City.
After graduating from college, Larry attended New York University School of Law on a full scholarship. After his first year of law school, Larry was called on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to the Central American Mission. He served there for two and a half years. Larry had an unusual mission because he was called as a counselor to the mission president after only four months in the mission. He spent much of his time traveling to all the countries of Central America and Venezuela. He had the opportunity to find and purchase property for the Church and to help establish branches and wards there. He also had the opportunity to serve as interpreter for visiting Church authorities including Elder Harold B. Lee and Elder Spencer W. Kimball. Larry was so happy when two of his grandsons, Will Walker and Michael Ray, were called to serve in Guatemala. Larry was also happy to learn than his granddaughter-in-law, Ashley Gill, also served faithfully in Guatemala.
Larry returned from his mission in mid-December, 1959. He and Mary decided to marry before he went back to New York City to finish law school. Larry and Mary were married in the Salt Lake City Temple on January 18, 1960. They spent their honeymoon driving from Provo to Manhattan, where they lived in student housing at 33 Washington Square West. It was a tiny, studio apartment with a bed that pulled down from the wall. But the setting, right on Washington Square, was wonderful. Larry and Mary later laughed about that tiny, studio apartment! They were able to move into a one bedroom apartment before their first child, Brian, was born.
During his college years and first year of law school, Larry worked for Vick Chemical Company in the finance department. He continued this work after marrying Mary. After his second year of law school, Larry served an internship with a large law firm in Cleveland, Ohio. Upon graduation, Larry joined the Cleveland law firm of Baker, Hostetler, and Patterson.
Larry and Mary settled into an apartment in Rocky River, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. In November, 1962, their second child, Laura, was born. They made many good friends in Cleveland, and bought their first house, 485 Queenswood Drive, Bay Village, Ohio. Larry worked very hard at his job. He was expected to put in 10-12 hours a day. He would go off to work carrying two lunches: one for lunch time and one for dinner. He was so busy that when the house needed painting he fixed up lights and painted it at night. One of the neighbors asked, “Is that special paint that can only be applied at night?”
In Cleveland, Larry and Mary also had the miraculous experience in 1968 of adopting Cathy, their third child. This was an experience shared by every member of the family and was a great highlight in Larry and Mary’s life. All of the family loved and cherished Cathy and lavished her with love and attention. Having Cathy in the family made it complete.
Larry served in many positions in the Church while the family was in Cleveland: secretary in the stake presidency, bishopric counselor, teacher, young men’s leader and others.
After almost eight years in Cleveland, Larry came home one day and asked, “Do you think we should move West?” With this question Larry began one of his famous research projects to determine which western city would be best for the family. The final decision was between Denver and Seattle. Larry and Mary chose Denver and moved there on July 20, 1969, the day the first man walked on the moon!
In Denver, Larry joined the law firm of Ireland, Stapleton, Pryor, and Holmes. Their offices were right at 17th and Broadway in downtown Denver. Larry worked there for six years and became a partner before beginning his own law practice: Gill Professional Corporation. Larry continued practicing law well into his eighties and finally closed his office on December 31, 2019.
Larry was a lifelong, faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. In Colorado, he served as a teacher, bishopric counselor, bishop, high councilor, and for over twenty years as patriarch. He also served as a sealer in the Denver Temple. He loved working with young people, and he loved working as the high councilor assigned to the Castle Rock Ward when it was small. Larry was a man of few words, but his heart was filled with great love for all he worked with.
Larry was a devoted husband and father. He loved to spend time off roading and exploring new places with Mary in Colorado. He also loved photography, camping, boating, fishing, waterskiing, and snow skiing with his family. All of the children and grandchildren have fond memories of going with him on the boat or skiing in the mountains.
Larry loved his family. Near the end of his life, many of his grandchildren FaceTimed or brought their children to see him and have pictures taken with him. They talked to him about the memories they have of him. They spoke of his faithfulness to Jesus Christ, of the spirit they always felt around him, of his silly jokes, of his steadiness and steadfastness in living a life devoted to Jesus Christ. Though he was basically a quiet man, Larry had a great impact on his children and grandchildren. As one grandson said, “He has always been a rock for me.”
Lawrence D. Gill would want to be remembered for his love of the Savior, his love of his wife, Mary, and their family.
Larry is survived by his wife of 61 years, Mary; their children and spouses: Brian & Dawn Anne Gill, Laura & Clark Walker, Cathy & Darin Ray; their grandchildren and spouses: Clark & Cameah Gill, Nathan & Mindy Gill, Colin & Samantha Gill, Josh & Ashley Gill, Amy & Paul Hatch, Annie & Jacob Loosle, Emily & Adam Murry, Will & Camille Walker, Sam Walker, Jordan & Melissa Ray, Becca & Matthew Mickelson, Brian & Regan Ray, Jacob & Amber Ray, Michael Ray, and Matthew Ray. Larry and Mary also have seventeen great-grandchildren: Eli Olanie, Jov Gill, Holden Gill, Isaac Gill, Addie Gill, August Gill, Maxwell Gill, Joseph Gill, Mary Gill, David Hatch, Riley Loosle, Carter Murry, Mathis Ray, Soren Ray, Thea Ray, Callum Mickelson, and Kai Mickelson.
Viewing Thursday, May 6, 2021, 9:30-10:30 am, Funeral Service 11:00 am. Both at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 9800 Foothills Canyon Blvd., Highlands Ranch, CO 80129. Interment Provo City Cemetery, Provo, Utah.
Service will be live streamed at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKVtj82LA68_9uw-mn0lJZA/live