Ocean Beach 05

Zachary A. Gillis

June 5, 1995 ~ October 7, 2021 (age 26)


Madison/Marshall - Zachary (Zach) Allen Gillis passed away unexpectedly on Thursday, October 7, 2021 at the age of 26. Zach was born on June 5, 1995 to Jerome and Laura (Grode) Gillis. 


Zach had the mind of an inventor. Ever since he was able to move, he was creating and building. At around three years old he found his passion for computers. He would take them apart and rebuild them over and over. He continued with this love of technology throughout his life, finding every opportunity to develop and learn new skills. In middle and high school he was part of the Science Olympiad team and he loved it. Zach graduated from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire with a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Systems. He was able to take part in an internship with Kohl’s Corporate and through this experience, he was offered a job as a Software Engineer. His face lit up the moment he was able to show off his technological abilities that were over everyone else’s heads, and speak of his passion for coding.


In his youth, he was also involved in Boy Scouts, bowling, and cross country. He also loved hanging out with his little sister Abby, whether it was computer games like ToonTown or Habbo Hotel, teaching her how to be smart, creating a made-up language, racing toy cars in the basement, going up to the Flambeau, going to the Milwaukee Zoo, or making movie forts in the living room. Zach was always making sure his little sister was safe and happy.


Zach always said he wanted to live by the ocean. He loved to go on vacation with his family to Seagrove Beach Florida. One of his favorite activities to do in Florida was to go on late-night beach walks with his dad, Jerry, and look for their friend ‘Hermie the Crab’. They shared many memories, laughs, philosophical conversations, and political debates together… always full of intelligence, proudly annoying everyone else around them. 


Zach had an immense nurturing love for his family, he always wanted his family to be together. He and his mom, Laura, had a special connection. They would often talk for hours, watch crime shows together, and go on dog walks. 


Zach’s love of animals was even stronger than his passion for computers, believe it or not. He would have adopted the whole shelter if he could. His favorite thing to do was go on a dog walk and talk your ear off for hours. Zach especially loved his childhood cat Duke and recently adopted puppy Molly. He would intentionally drive to the family home solely to see his dogs, and then maybe the people. 


Zach also cherished his relationships with his lifelong friends. One of his favorite activities was to have a cookout and sit around a bonfire with them and discuss life. 


Zach is survived by his parents Jerry and Laura Gillis, his sister Abigail Gillis, his grandma Juanita Grode, his grandparents Jerry and Eileen Gillis, his uncle Jason, and many more family and friends. He was preceded in death by his grandpa Craig Grode. 


Please join us to celebrate Zachary on October 23, 2021. Visitation will be held from 12:00 pm until 2:00 pm at Cress Funeral Home at 1310 Emerald Terrace, Sun Prairie, WI.


At 3:30 pm following the visitation, we invite you to join us at Converse Park in Marshall as we roast a whole hog in Zachary’s honor. Converse Park is located at 408 Best Built Pkwy, Marshall, WI. All are welcome to attend. Please note for those guests who cannot eat pork, we will have additional options. 


In his honor, we invite you to donate to the Dane County Humane Society to continue his love of animals. Donations may be made via check to the Dane County Humane Society, 5132 Voges Road, Madison, WI 53718 or at giveshelter.org. Please include “to honor Zachary Allen Gillis.” 


We would like to thank our extended family and incredible friends for their kind words, love, and support.


Cress Funeral & Cremation Service

1310 Emerald Terrace  Sun Prairie

(608) 837-9054

Please share your memories at www.cressfuneralservice.com

To send flowers to Zachary's family, please visit our floral store.


October 23, 2021

12:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Cress Cremation Services-Sun Prairie
1310 Emerald Terrace
Sun Prairie, Wisconsin 53590

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