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LA CRESCENT, Minn. -- William “Bill” J. Gilles of La Crescent died at the La Crescent Nursing Home Monday, Aug. 14, 2017, a few days after celebrating his 91st birthday.

Bill was born Aug. 9, 1926, to Sylvester and Irene (Kolefsky) Gilles.

In 1948, he married Helen (Schultz) Gilles. Helen died in 2012. He is survived by four children, Teresa (Richard) Walter, James (Anne) Gilles, Joseph (Anne) Gilles and Michael (Joan) Gilles. He also has 19 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. He loved his family, and helped build their houses, decks, and farms. He was happiest helping others, especially family (brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, children).

Bill is survived by his sisters, Joan Viner and Rosemary Malzacher and sister-in-law, Yvonne Gilles. He was preceded in death by siblings, Colleen and George Gautsch , Jim Gilles, Wayne Viner and Lawrence Malzacher.

Bill graduated from Aquinas High School in La Crosse and attended St. John’s University in Minnesota, until serving in the Army in World War II. He was a consummate citizen. He served as a mail carrier to roughly half of La Crescent, his smile and friendliness always visible. He also served as postmaster in Hokah and on the La Crescent city council and planning commission. Bill was a long-term member of Crucifixion Church, singing in the choir, serving on the parish council, reading, ushering, or doing anything he could do. He was, until his death, a member of the La Crescent American Legion. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, serving as treasurer for many years. He cared deeply for his neighbors, his community, his church.

A Mass of Christian burial was held Friday, Aug. 18, at the Church of The Crucifixion, La Crescent. The Rev. Gregory Havel will officiated. Burial was in the Crucifixion Catholic Cemetery. A visitation was held Thursday, Aug. 17, at the Crucifixion Church in La Crescent and again Friday until the time of services. The Schumacher-Kish Funeral & Cremation Services of La Crescent assisted with arrangements. Online guestbook is available at www.schumacher-kish.com.

Memorials may be given to the La Crescent Library or any charity of donor's choice.

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