Cover photo for Donald J. Gillespie's Obituary
Donald J. Gillespie Profile Photo
Donald

Donald J. Gillespie

d. February 1, 2020

Donald James Gillespie passed away on February 1, 2020, surrounded by family and friends. He was a beloved husband, father, grandfather and friend. Don grew up in Olney and attended St. Helena grade school and Cardinal Dougherty high school. Upon graduation from high school in 1967, Don entered the US Marine Corps — in what would become a defining moment in his life. Don arrived in Vietnam in February 1968 near the start of the epic Battle of Khe Sanh. Two regiments of marines were badly outnumbered by soldiers from the North Vietnamese People’s Army of Vietnam. The Marines, with the help of America’s air support, maintained the base at Khe Sanh for 5 months. Over 1,500 Americans perished in the siege and another 7,600 were injured. Don was wounded during the battle and spent many months recovering in the hospital. He returned to danger in Vietnam upon completion of his initial 12-month deployment to rejoin his Marine comrades there. He was the recipient of two Purple Hearts and remained a proud Marine his entire life. After returning from the war, Don spent his career in law enforcement. He joined the Philadelphia Police Department in 1974. He worked for the Philadelphia Police Department for 25 years, initially in West Philadelphia’s 16th District and then in police transit. He was a K-9 officer and also worked in plainclothes. Later, he became a detective and worked in the sex crimes unit. He was a dedicated champion for abused women and children and received many awards and commendations. After retiring from the Philadelphia Police Department, Don went to work for the state of Pennsylvania where he continued his detective work investigating sex offenders. He was the first detective hired by the state to enforce Megan’s Law. He retired in May 2015 after 16 years with the state. Don had a lifelong love of baseball and coached for over 20 years for the Chestnut Hill Fathers Club. He enjoyed traveling and riding his Harley once the weather warmed up. Don was a strong man with a kind, gentle spirit. He was known for his generosity and quick wit. He adored his grandchildren. He will continue to be cherished by those who loved him. He is survived by his loving wife Judy Feighery, his four children Donald Gillespie (Lori), Jennifer Vogel (Adam), Matthew Gillespie and Benjamin Gillespie, five grandchildren and five step children. He is also survived by his brother George Gillespie and sister Patricia Gillespie. Services will be held at St. Genevieve Catholic Church, 1225 Bethlehem Pike in Flourtown, Pa., on Saturday, February 8, 2020.  Visitation will begin at 9:00 am with Liturgy to follow at 10:30am. Interment will occur at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Gillespie Scholarship Award for the students of St. Helena-Incarnation Catholic School. Checks payable to St. Helena-Incarnation School. Mail to:   Madeline Christenson c/o Independence Mission Schools P.O. Box 37012 Philadelphia, Pa. 19122    
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Service Schedule

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Visitation

Saturday, February 8, 2020

9:00 - 10:30 am (Eastern time)

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Saturday, February 8, 2020

Starts at 10:30 am (Eastern time)

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