Ed Gillespie, 86 of Gahanna, Ohio, a highly accomplished aviator and test pilot of many high performance military and civilian aircraft, took his final flight to heaven with an angel of God flying “right seat”, on July 9, 2015. Born in Ann Arbor, Michigan on July 28, 1928, Ed passed away July 9, 2015.
He was preceded in his death by his parents Arthur and Rhea Gillespie, brother Art, and son Allan Gillespie. A licensed pilot at age of 16, he joined the US Navy at 17 and was accepted into the Navy flight training program. As a carrier based fighter pilot during the Korean conflict he flew many combat missions in service of his country. Passing on an opportunity to join the Blue Angels, he entered Test Pilot Training school where he graduated in 1956. He remained in the Navy Reserve where he retired at the rank of Captain after 26 years of additional service. In 1956 he took a position with North American Aviation, Columbus, Ohio, where he was employed for 30 years, retiring as Chief Test Pilot for Rockwell International. With over 15,000 flight hours primarily accumulated in short, intense flights in single cockpit high performance aircraft, in over 100, jet, rocket, recip, helo and turbo prop military aircraft, his record of aviation accomplishment during his long career is matched by very few, living or dead. Skilled, smart and courageous, he would often describe his most harrowing flight events later simply with: “piece of cake.” Aviation was his passion and the many people he knew that were involved with its history and operations, he proudly called his best friends.
His very proud and loving surviving family is his ex-wife and lifetime dear friend, Janette; sons, Scott and Dan; and daughter Devon Hattey; grandchildren, Lauren, Ian and Savannah; and great grandchildren Henry and Cian. Ed’s deceased son, Allan, is surely meeting with his dad now to plan a new adventurous trip that they both so loved.
Memorial services will be held at 5 p.m. Saturday, July 18, 2015 at the SCHOEDINGER NORTHEAST CHAPEL, 1051 E. Johnstown Rd. (at Beecher Rd.), Gahanna, Ohio 43230 where family will receive friends from 2-5 p.m. For a deeper look at elements of Ed’s life, pleases visit: www.schoedinger.com
Published in The Columbus Dispatch on July 12, 2015