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August 22, 1933 - April 29, 2013 OKLAHOMA CITY Don Gilliland went home to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on April 29, 2013. Born on August 22, 1933, in McLoud, Oklahoma, Don Gilliland grew up the son of a coach, carpenter and educator. He graduated from Oklahoma City Central High School in 1951, from Oklahoma Baptist University in 1955, and from University of Oklahoma Medical School in 1960. He met the love of his life, Jan Gregory, on a blind date, and they were married on August 2, 1958. He was a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and subsequently graduated third in his class of 100. He served his internship at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, where their first child, Leslie, was born. They moved to Dallas in 1961, where Don was a resident in Ophthalmology at Southwestern Medical School and Parkland Hospital and their twin sons, Guy and Grant, were born. After completing his residency, the Gilliland family moved back to Oklahoma City, where he practiced ophthalmology for two years before being drafted during the Vietnam War in February 1966. He was stationed at the Darnall Army Hospital at Fort Hood, Texas, where he was the Chief of the Eye, Ears, Nose, and Throat Department and where they welcomed their youngest son, Lance. Don had a brush with history when, on November 22, 1963, he was on call at Parkland Hospital when they brought a fatally injured President John F. Kennedy to the hospital. He and another doctor saw the First Lady's rose bouquet thrown in the trash can and picked one of the rosebuds as a reminder of that sad day. He often would bring out the rose and would retell its story. The family returned to Oklahoma City in March 1968, where Don practiced eye surgery and ophthalmology for the next 44 years. During those years, he was very generous with his time and talents -- running a Children's Eye Clinic at the Baptist Mission Clinic for 18 years and serving as an eye consultant for the Easter Seals for five years. Don also had a heart for missions and participated in 15 medical mission trips to Mexico and Belize. He instilled a love of service to all that he encountered and believed that a life well lived is that of a servant. He exemplified the verse, "to whom much is given much is required," and he passed this legacy to his children and grandchildren. He served as a deacon at Putnam City Baptist Church, elder and leader in the youth ministry at Metropolitan Baptist Church, led young married couples Sunday School at Heritage Baptist Church and served on a variety of church boards and committees. Don Gilliland was a renaissance man -- knowing "something" about everything. He was a fountain of knowledge for all that knew him, was always available with information and advice, and could fix anything from eyes to appliances. He loved woodworking, OU football, home improvement projects of any kind ... but most of all, he loved his family. He would do anything for his wife, children and grandchildren and would drop everything to help when needed. He was especially at his best in a time of crisis. He is survived by his much-beloved wife, Jan; his four children and their spouses, and eight grandchildren: Leslie and Jimmy Clayton and their children, Evan and Claire, of Plano, Texas; Guy and Jacque Gilliland and their children, Jared and Rachel Gilliland and Casey and Dustin Evans, of Flower Mound, Texas; Grant and Mimi Gilliland and their children, Connor and Nicole, of Dallas, Texas; and Lance and Siri Gilliland, of Houston, Texas. He was preceded in death by his daughter-in-law, Marcy Murphy Gilliland. Don's memorial service honoring his Lord and Savior and celebrating his life will be held on Friday, May 3, 2013, at 5 p.m. in the afternoon at Metropolitan Baptist Church, 7201 W. Britton Road, Oklahoma City, OK 73132. Donations in Don's honor may be made to Insight For Living, P.O. Box 269000, Plano, TX 75026-9000.

Published in The Oklahoman on May 2, 2013
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