|Eldon W. Gilson|
|Eldon W. Gilson January 14, 1922 – March 26, 2009 STAYTON – Another warrior of the greatest generation has passed. Eldon W. Gilson went home to be with the Lord on Thursday, March 26th, 2009 at the age of 87. He passed peacefully in Santiam Memorial Hospital, surrounded by his wife and children. Eldon was born in 1922 at Kings Valley, Oregon, the sixth child of Andrew J. and Alice C. Gilson.
During the Great Depression, the family lived in various places around Salem and Albany, settling in the Portland area prior to World War II. Eldon joined the U.S. Navy in June, 1942 serving as a Gunnery Mate, 3rd Class Petty Officer. He returned home on leave in 1943 and married his sweetheart, Willa R. Carpenter of Corbett, Oregon on May 26th. Following his discharge in 1946, they lived for a few years in St. Johns, Oregon. They moved to Lyons in 1953 and purchased a home on the Little North Fork of the North Santiam River where they lived for 30 years, raising five children.
Eldon worked nearly his entire working life in the timber industry and was very involved in his community. He served many years on the Mari-Linn Elementary School Board and PTC and was a founder of Lyons Public Library. He was also a long-time member of the Stayton Christian Church. After his retirement, Eldon and Willa worked another 7 years as caretakers of the Four Corners Rod and Gun Club before settling in Stayton in 1991. Although Eldon was an accomplished hunter, his main interests were his family and friends. His good nature and sense of humor were trademarks and much of his life was spent selflessly working 6 days a week providing for his family all the things he didn’t have as a child. While very capable and self-reliant himself, he was always ready and willing to lend a hand to anyone who needed it.
Eldon was preceded in death by his parents, Andrew J. and Alice C. Gilson; brothers Gilbert Gilson of Toledo and Howard Gilson of Paisley; and sisters Wanita Ripley of Milwaukie and Betty Fowler of Corbett. He is survived by his wife and constant companion of 67 years, Willa R. Gilson; brother Jack of Eugene; sisters Evelyn Sayles of Ashland and Thelma Guerber of Eagle, Idaho; children, John (Judy) Gilson of Salem, Bob Gilson of Spokane, Washington, Bill (Patti) Gilson of Stayton, Larry (Coralie) Gilson of Edgewater, Florida, and Elizabeth (Steve) Baldwin of Lyons; thirteen grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. Donations may be sent in Eldon’s memory to the Stayton Christian Church, P.O. Box 189, Stayton, Oregon, 97383 to be distributed as Eldon requested. Internment services were held at 12:30 p.m., Tues., March 31st at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland. A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, April 3rd, 2009 at Stayton Christian Church, 189 East Washington St., Stayton. Arrangements made by Weddle Funeral Services