Joe Gililland

Profile Updated: April 14, 2014
Class Year: 1973
Residing In: Alexandria, VA USA
Spouse/Partner: Marianne Gililland
Occupation: Navy Contractor - Project Manager at Alion Science
Children: Sandy, born 1987 and Dave, born 1991
Comments:

I still live in Alexandria - and even closer to the old school than when we went there. I keep in touch with a ton of Federals. I've worked in downtown DC, Crystal City and near the Navy Yard for the past 30+ years - telecommunications, then Navy work. Marianne and I celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary in September 2013....time is flying. Our 26 year old daughter is a nurse in Durham, NC and our 22 year old son followed our footsteps to Radford University and will graduate May 2014.

School Story:

I was a quiet observer at FHHS, although close friends saw my other side. I did Crew for three years and joined a few small clubs, but mostly it was Friday night activity that I remember the best; football games, McDonalds, cruising nowhere and listening to Jethro Tull on 8-Track.

Lunch breaks from our "Open Campus" were classic and I loved piling as many guys as I could into my '65 Buick LeSabre. I think 7 was the record. I loved that car....crashed it.....fixed it...and crashed it again. That's why I never yelled at my son when he crashed his car.....fixed it.....crashed his car.

FOOTNOTE: At the Summer Reunion of 2013, I mentioned to Mr. Timothy Barr, Assistant Vice Principal when I attended, about how we appreciated the "Open Campus" of '71/'72/'73, he said "What Open Campus? You guys were just sneaking out!".

How often do you get back to Alexandria?

Proud to say that I never left. I've been to prettier places, but none that felt as good as 'home'.

Do you still see/talk to/hang out with any classmates? Who?

Dick Alderson, Jeff DeMuro, Lee Gravatte, Joe Houston, Dave FlorCruz, Robert Hines, Rick Genuario and Richard McFarland are guys that I see often and many are still in the area. Boat Salke moved to Miami, but we keep up. I see dozens of Federals at the various reunions - great way to keep up.

What are your memories of high school (i.e. secret crush, embarrassing moment, funniest thing you did in high school, favorite high school hang out, favorite teachers)?

Great memories. I think the teachers were fair, the girls were pretty and the after school & weekend activities were the best. There were great parties to be found, and when they couldn't be found you could just cruise the neighborhoods or drive the Parkway. A big stack of close friends really helped me enjoy my years at FHHS.

Biggest thing you would do differently if you went back to your time at high school?

The best four years of my non-adult life. I wouldn't change a thing!

We enjoyed many of the privileges of grown-ups (cars, girls, social life, fun events and parties) without the baggage of being a grown-up (jobs, mortgages and .......responsibility). Stay up until 6 a.m? Sure, why not? What a blast.

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Aug 26, 2019 at 12:33 PM

Obituary for Rein John Vander Zee Jr.

Rein John Vander Zee Jr. passed away on February 11, 2018. Rein was born to Diana and Rein Vander Zee in Camden, New Jersey on July 3rd, 1954. He is survived by his loving mother, Diana Vander Zee, sister, Lea Grisemer and spouse, Rian Grisemer and nieces, Hannah and Julia Grisemer. Rein is preceded in death by his father Rein John Vander Zee Sr. The world is a better place for Rein Vander Zee Jr. having been here for 64 years. Rein was an attentive and loving son, brother, uncle and dear friend. Rein was very proud of his family especially his two nieces, Hannah and Julia Grisemer.

Rein attended Ft. Hunt High School in Alexandria, VA. Upon graduation from high school Rein enlisted in the United States Coast Guard and began his flight training at USCG Air Station Mobile, AL in their Shipboard Helicopter Operation Division as an Aviation Survivalman. As a USCG Aviator, Rein was trained in operational, search and rescue missions. Rein was deployed to the Antarctica/Artic aboard the USCG Icebreakers "Northwind" and "Burton Island" during Operation "Deepfreeze." Returning from Antarctica he embarked upon scientific and peacekeeping missions in the Southern Hemisphere. Rein's years of military service although dangerous were some of the best years of his life. He was very proud to have served his country.

After discharge from the military Rein attended Trinity University, San Antonio, TX like his mother and father and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, Broadcasting and Film. Rein then attended the Williamson Alderson Private Professional Theatre Conservatory in New York City for graduate studies in Acting-his lifelong dream. His acting career afforded him parts in film, television and New York City theatres.

In his retirement, Rein was a teacher for the San Antonio North East Independent School District. His favorite pastime was the study of Ancient, World and American History.

Quote from a dear friend Candis, "Life will never be the same without your genius, your sense of humor and your compassion".

A mass will be celebrated in Rein’s honor Monday, March 12, 2018 beginning at 10:00 a.m. at St. Pius X Catholic Church, 3907 Harry Wurzbach, San Antonio, TX 78209. Beginning at 9:50 a.m. sister Lea Grisemer will share a eulogy of her brother Rein. Interment will follow the mass at Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery with military honors. In lieu of flowers please consider making a donation to Disabled American Veterans at DAV.org.

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Aug 26, 2019 at 12:33 PM

My cousin Rein John and I grew up experiencing life like few others have. Too infrequent vacations over the years of our youth always centered around meeting at our grandma Ruge's riverfront home in Bandera, Texas.

It was Huck Finn, with catfishing, beer drinking, swimming holes, skipping rocks, sunburns, water moccasins, shooting guns, long naps, laughs way into the night, riding bikes, driving golf carts, trying to grow up, and becoming men who would follow in our fathers and uncles footsteps. Men who we greatly admired, and Rein would always place them in a position of honor, respect, and occasional awe. We grew up well.

Later, in our twenties, we found time to hang together in San Antonio...two young men exploring the town, the ladies, amd the life of the 1980's. Rein had extraordinary common courtesy...he was respectful, but also candid when things weren't quite right.

I loved our times together, along with his beautiful sister Lea....they went by all too fast. And what are left now are the memories that make me smile. Rein was successful in theater, movies, and television. His role in the "Noises Off" stage production was exceptional. I recall the pure physical energy to pull that off, coupled with over the top humor, that made it one of the best date nights with my wife Sarah that I ever had.

Rein was authentic. He sought out and found the core truth of a thing, and celebrated that reduction with insight and wit. I loved our conversations on a never dull wide range of topics. He found his way to the Cross, too, and Max Weltens was instrumental in that moment. Rein served all of us in the Coast Guard, and recalled fondly with me some of his missions to the remotest parts of the earth.

He experienced life. He had his struggles, too. Don't we all. But he made his way through them, and navigated his life to a place where he was proactive and engaged in reaching out to all of his family members and connecting with us beautifully. I regret not being more engaged with him...the selfish pursuits of time and career often trumping times we could have enjoyed together. His time is now in eternity. It's his time now.

He was a friend, a confidant, a buddy when I needed one, and a keeper of the Vander Zee DNA and standards of manhood. He honored us all with his life, and I am the better person for having had him in mine. I love you Rein John. Rest now, my family member, my friend in the faith, my compadre on the town. We will roll again someday.

Dirk Vander Zee - February 25, 2018 at 04:01 PM

Joe Gililland has left an In Memory comment for Geoffrey Adams.
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Aug 06, 2019 at 12:33 PM

Leonard - Wish there was a photo of Geoff exiting that sports car! Thanks for adding another remembrance.

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Aug 05, 2019 at 12:56 PM
Joe Gililland has left an In Memory comment for Geoffrey Adams.
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Aug 02, 2019 at 12:33 PM

Guy - Thanks for the nice remembrance of your brother.  Nicely done.  I know it has been a while, but you have our condolence for your loss...he seemed to have lived a fine life, even if shortened. 

The preserve you're thinking of may be the National Arboretum in N.E. Washington, DC.  It's over 400 acres and a beautiful place for an extended 'rest'. 

I love the FHHS nugget about Geoff graduating #2.  His classmate, Shearon Acree was #1 and the last Federal to walk the graduation line was Tom Ziemba in 1985. Tom gave a hilarious speech at our 50th Birthday Party for the school at West Potomac HS in 2013.

Thanks again for adding to your brother's remembrance, Guy.

 

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Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 12:49 AM
Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 12:49 AM
Ran into Mr. Barr's son, Chris, out in Moab, Utah about 3 miles deep into a creek canyon in June of 2012. He runs a repelling school for climbers. We never met him before and he laughed when the connection was made.
Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 12:49 AM
Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 12:49 AM
Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 12:49 AM
Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 12:49 AM
Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 12:49 AM
Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 12:49 AM
Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 12:49 AM
Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 12:49 AM