William "Bill" M. Gilbert was born April 30, 1933 at Madison General Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin. He passed away peacefully in the loving and caring environment of St. Mary's Memory Care Center on October 6, 2018, surrounded by family, friends and many wonderful caregivers.
Bill was the oldest of five children born to Howard and Esther Gilbert. He grew up on the east side of Madison, attended Sherman Elementary School and graduated in 1952 from Madison East High School. Bill participated in varsity football all four years. After graduation, he was drafted into the Army to serve in the Korean Conflict in 1953 and was discharged in 1956. Upon returning to Madison, he entered a carpenter apprenticeship program.
In 1956, as the result of a smile across the room, he met the love of his life on a blind date. On September 21, 1957 he married Judy Engel, "a westsider". As the story goes, she tells how she had to go to the eastside to find Mr. Right.
Bill was blessed with and is survived by his wife Judy of 61 years and 5 children: Vicki Tomaszewski, Brad Gilbert, Barry (Terry) Gilbert, Lori (Dan) Bobolz and Melanie Kilmer; Eleven Grandchildren: Mitch (Kate) Louther, Alex Tomaszewski, Peter Gilbert, Ashley (John) Deal, Ross (Heather) Gilbert, Samantha Warner, Brandon and Megan Bobolz, Abbey, Josh and Joey Kilmer; Five great Grandchildren: Liam and Finn Louther, Remington and Maverick Deal and Blake Warner.
Bill is also survived by his brother Gary (Carol) Gilbert and David Gilbert and many nieces and nephews. Special friends include: David and Mary Lynne Puttkamer, Don and Dan Wiedenfeld and Carol Breunig, and Herb and Sue Hanson.
He was proceeded in death by his parents, Howard and Esther; his sisters, Pat Stauber and Nancy Wilsman; and Great Grandson, Wyatt Deal.
Together with Judy, Bill's greatest pleasure was being a part of his families' lives. His work never kept him from their events. A testament to this is a quote from one of his children, "Dad I have looked up to you since I was a little guy and I will always look up to you. You came to all my ballgames."
In 1959, he founded Gilbert Builders & later started Constellation Construction. Bill did work in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Texas before retiring in 1998. After "retirement", Bill found he had too much time on his hands so he did one last project in 2003. He promised Judy it would be the last. Bill told his children, "Love your job and it will never be work" ...Bill loved his job!
Bill and Judy, along with Mary and George, enjoyed spending the winters at their home in The Villages, Florida and traveling with friends. He enjoyed golf and got his hole in one before having to give up golf in 2015.
A visitation will be held at Cress Funeral Home, 3610 Speedway Road, Madison, on Friday, October 12, 2018 from 4-7 pm, followed by an opportunity to share your memories at 7 pm. The funeral service will be held on Saturday, October 13, 2018 at 11:00 am at St. James Lutheran Church, 427 South Main Street, Verona. Visitation will be held at church from 9:30 am until the time of service. Immediately following the service, burial with military honors will be held at the Verona Cemetery.
We would like to thank St. Mary's Memory Care Center and Hospice for their gentle and compassionate care. Mere words cannot fully express our appreciation and gratitude. You all convinced us there are Angels among us.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to Alzheimer's and Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin (ADAW) or to St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church Building Fund.
Please share your memories.
Cress Funeral and Cremation Service
3610 Speedway Road, Madison
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I am your next door neighbor from Waunona Way. As a teen I admired you and your family. My condolences to all. Hey Ellen Soper Bernholdt.
What a wonderful man, husband and father. You were all very blessed to have him as a role model, protector and loving, caring man. My deepest sympathy
To Judy and Family, I am so deeply sorry for your loss. Bill was a truly special person to me and I will never forget the moments we shared. I will miss seeing Bill’s smile greeting me every morning. My continued thoughts and prayers are with you all. Rest In Peace my friend.
Brad, I am sorry to hear of your Father passing. My you always carry him in your heart.
To Judy and the whole family the world has lost one of the greatest people ever. He was always the same and a person of pride,Love and Integrity.. He was a kind man as well as a great Father, Grand father and friend. I always remember my dad and bill talking shop. It was amazing the knowledge they both had. I always remember when I would see bill and the family and you were always greeted with a big smile and firm handshake. It did not matter if he saw you 2 days ago or 2 years ago the greeting was always the same. I have been a better person by knowing Bill Gilbert. I guess the Lord needed another carpenter to help St. Joseph. HE JUST GOT A GREAT ONE. Rest in peace. Mike Lumina
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