Byron Harold Gilmore

Byron H. Gilmore

A Eulogy And Obituary

By His Son, Charles Gilmore


It is with great sadness I announce the death of the admired, respected, and loved Byron H. Gilmore of the Brandon Woods Nursing Home in Lawrence. A funeral service will be held at the First Presbyterian Church of Lawrence on Saturday, October 17, 2015 at 2:00 p.m., and interment is scheduled for Monday, October 19, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. at the Highland Cemetery in Highland, Kansas.

Byron Gilmore was born in 1920 in Highland, Kansas and spent the early years of his youth working on the family farm.

In 1940 he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and served his country honorably and with valor until the end of WWII. Freedom is not free. Sometimes fine words and diplomacy fail to resolve conflicts. Sometimes as American citizens we have to fight for all the freedoms we have or might gain. I’m so proud of my father who proved his mettle as a warrior when the circumstances of history called on heroes to be brave beyond belief in battling some of the most freedom-destroying tyrants our world has ever known. I know many of the freedoms I have enjoyed my whole life are due to the efforts of men like my father. We should all be thankful and grateful for what they did and continue to do.

Byron Gilmore married Mary Ward in 1944 before the conclusion of the war.

After the war he attended Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas and remained in the military until 1966 when he was honorably discharged from the Air Force with a rank of Colonel.

After retirement, while a resident of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, he continued to serve his family, community, and country by being an active member of the First Presbyterian Church of Gettysburg and a member and sometimes chairman of organizations such as the Lions Club, Kiwanis, and the United Way. In Gettysburg he enjoyed researching the family trees of himself and his devoted wife. He discovered one direct ancestor, a Naugle, with a Pennsylvania Volunteer who fought valiantly at the Battle of Gettysburg, was seriously wounded, and narrowly survived the war.

He moved with his wife and son to Lawrence in 1996. He and his wife continued to be active church members with the First Presbyterian Church. He was a devoted member of the Lawrence Kiwanis, attending meetings faithfully even when he was in poor health and it was difficult for him to walk.

He and his wife always enjoyed the spring and summer band concerts at South Park in Lawrence.

My father’s courage in combat and in facing all of life’s challenges serves as an inspiration for us all. He made a good impression on everyone who met him.

Though my father was a Christian throughout his life and he was an elder in the Gettysburg Presbyterian Church, he didn’t talk about heaven and hell very often. He had many friends in both places. He accepted, liked, and defended people from all walks of life, from levels high and low, people great and small—a U.S. General or president, a pauper selling salted pumpkin seeds on a crowded Istanbul street, a Christian Chinese peasant offering a cup of water and a bowl of rice to a stranger from another nation on the other side of the world, professors, leaders of business, vagabonds, drifters, and kings of the road in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. He appreciated the unknown artist, painter, and scientist as well as the unknown soldier.

Remaining in the family are his wife, Mary Ward Gilmore of Lawrence, his son, Charles Gilmore, Lawrence, a daughter, Patricia Gilmore Raby and her husband John Raby of Spokane, Washington, and their two children, Gordon and Victoria Raby, also of Spokane; a sister, Helen Marie Boyd, Missoula, Montana, and her three children, Bobby Boyd, Dianne Boyd Harnish, and LeAnn Boyd; the wife of Mary Gilmore’s nephew, Elizabeth Ward of Grove City, Pennsylvania.

The family recommends memorial contributions to the First Presbyterian Church of Lawrence and the Lawrence Kiwanis.

My father will be deeply missed and never forgotten. Though his physical body has been laid to rest, his legacy and spirit are eternal. Goodbye, my dear father. God Speed, my dear father. God Speed.

6 Condolences

  1. robyn herzog on October 11, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    Soo sorry to hear bout byron
    .he always has a smile light up a room he has a big smile when his wife come to see him every day I’ll miss my buddy god bless robyn herzog

  2. Dareld & Martha Albright on October 16, 2015 at 11:22 am

    Our Deepest Sympathy for the Family. We have known Byron
    here at Brandon Woods for quite a few years.

  3. Mary Gordon on October 17, 2015 at 12:21 am

    I admired Byron so very, very much. Several years ago, at a retired group’s luncheon, he told about his experience of having to parachute out of his plane, landing in China, hiding out in rice paddies for several days, and finally being found. He said that the Chinese doctors scraped his severe burns to help them heal. They were healing. He was finally rescued by the Americans and went to an American hospital. There, salve was applied to his burns, and some of his healing was undone!

    I always told him that he was my hero. He was, is, and always will be “my hero”. I was blessed and honored to know him.

    Mary Gordon

  4. Craig Mosher on November 11, 2015 at 8:21 am

    We knew him as Col. Gilmore and then as Harold. He and Mary were part of a large group of steadfast alums from a generation that appreciated the launching pad Highland Community College provided them. He is a fallen soldier in more ways than one.

  5. Terry Gibson on July 9, 2018 at 3:58 pm

    Please contact regarding a stone for the colonel

  6. John Naugle on July 28, 2020 at 6:45 pm

    Harold was my fathers (Floyd Naugle) nephew and my first cousin. I heard stories about Byron when I was a youth, but do not remember meeting him. I would like to make contact with the family.

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