Cornelia “Connie” Messler Gillespie, 85, of East Jordan and formerly of Burton, died Monday, November 9, 2020, in East Jordan.
She was born on October 17, 1935, in Springfield, Illinois, the daughter of Harold and Helen (Donaldson) Welch. She grew up in Springfield, Illinois, attended the Finishing School at Fairfax Hall, Waynesboro, Virginia. Connie graduated from Springfield High School in 1953, received her B.A. from the University of Michigan in 1970 and her Masters of Arts and Reading from Oakland University in 1975.
She taught at Linden Public Schools and in Argentine Public Schools.
She met Bruce Gillespie on Waikiki Beach, Hawaii in 1956. They married on June 29, 1957, in Springfield, Illinois. They made their home in Flint, Michigan from 1957 to 1970, in Burton from 1970 to 2009 and then in East Jordan from 2009 to 2020.
Connie was a 50 year member of the First Presbyterian Church in Flint and later a member of the First Presbyterian Church in East Jordan. She was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Daughters of Colonial Wars, Daughters of Colonial Clergy, Gamma Phi Beta Sorority and a life member of Huguenot Society of Michigan. She was also past president of the Downtown Flint Lioness Club, past president of Lioness District 11-D-1 and was active with her husband in the East Flint Lions Club including Leader Dogs for the Blind. She was an EMT for the Davison Area Ambulance Authority (DAAA) and the Goodrich Ambulance Service. She loved dogs and gardening.
Connie is survived by two daughters, Anne (Douglas) Phelps of East Jordan and Marsha (Lee) Bell of Crete, Illinois; two grandsons, Daniel Phelps of East Jordan and Kileean (Meg) Bell of Crete, Illinois; and two great grandsons, Roman Gerfen of Longview, Texas and Ezra Bell of Crete, Illinois; several nieces and nephews; and fifty exchange students who frequented her home from fourteen different countries over the years.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Bruce Gillespie, on December 9, 2011; her parents; and one granddaughter, Marleea Gerfen.
A private graveside service will be held at Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, Illinois.
Arrangements by the Penzien Funeral Homes, Inc. in East Jordan, Michigan.
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