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Saturday, April 15, 2006

Roberta Gillis, 69

Roberta Gillis, a longtime Democratic activist in the Santa Clarita Valley has passed away at the age of 69 from complications of a stroke.

Gillis was a past president of the Santa Clarita Democratic Club and a key player in a number of succesful election campaigns over the years, from local races to US Senate contests.

A native of Yugoslavia, Gillis arrived in the US in 1962. She is survived by her husband Ron, a member of the Board of Trustees of the College of the Canyons Community College District.

In lieu of flowers a donation may be made in honor of Roberta Gillis, to the Randy Wicks Scholarships Fund or the homeless shelter. Checks for the Wicks Scholarship Fund should be made out to:

SCV Press Club
c/o The Signal
24000 Creekside Rd.
Santa Clarita CA 91355

Put "Roberta" on the memo line


Anonymous Anonymous said:

Jim Alger, Democratic Candidate for the 38th State Assembly District issued the following statement regarding the death of the 38th Assembly District Democratic Delegation Chair Roberta Gillis who passed away this morning after suffering a stroke 2 weeks ago:

This morning Roberta Gillis was taken from her family, her friends, and indeed the world. While we are all incredibly saddened by this tragic event, it was not unexpected.

Roberta died the same way she lived, on her own terms. Choosing to have her medical care terminated after suffering a massive stroke Roberta showed the strength and conviction that embodied her life. I am honored to have called her a friend. We will all miss her.


April 15, 2006 10:49 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Brian Davis, Former Democratic Candidate for the 38th State Assembly District issued the following statement regarding the death of Roberta Gillis:

I just received the devastating news. Roberta is a great friend of mine and without her I never would have been involved in the party. She immediately took me under her wing, showered me with support and love. When I wanted to get involved, she knew how to engage.
Roberta is clearly a controversial figure. Whether she was fighting Republicans, the powerbrokers in Santa Clarita, or those within our own party, she was relentless and passionate. While we may not have always agreed -- a position that a lot of those of her knew her got to take occasionally -- I could always appreciate how proudly she stood by her principles and own sense of dignity.
Roberta was a fighter, that's for sure. I loved that in her. From the very last time I spoke with her, there was a fire in her voice. She rose from more adversity than any person that I've ever met and never forgot that. She was not going to be pushed over, something that we can all learn from -- whether in politics, faith, work or our loves.
I want to say that I am one of her biggest fans. That's not really fair. As much as I respected Roberta, turned to her for advice or a cheery conversation, my admiration for her could probably never rival the admiration she had for me.
I've rarely met a person who loved her friends more, and who would do anything for them. She held up those she loved in a way that I could never do.
And the party. This woman, an immigrant who lived a hard, often disappointing life, loved our party. She bled blue. Look at her name, her identity. She changed her name -- the essence of a person's existence -- out of honor for Bobby Kennedy. Bobby Kennedy represented everything she thought the Democratic Party and America could be. She may have her critics, those who didn't see eye to eye on her style. But in my years of involvement, I've never heard anyone impugn her devotion to Democrats. She loved us all the way a mother loves her children. We were her children. The Democratic Party is her legacy.
Last night, I was at Mass. It was the Mass of the Lord's Supper, a really beautiful and liturgically significant mass starting the Easter triduum during which Christians celebrate the passion, death and resurrection of the Lord. (Roberta always teased me for staying close to the church, not understanding how a person who could have been so hurt by the Church could still love it so. But she also would ask me to pray for her.) The mass is long -- almost 3 hours -- and gives me a lot of time to get lost in my heart and head. I realized that I hadn't seen Roberta in a while since moving from the Valley. I would meet her for lunch when visiting my parents, but I haven't been there in a while. I said a prayer for her; last time we spoke she mentioned not feeling too well. And I promised to call her today and make lunch plans. Once again, she asserts that she's in charge. She does things her way.

April 15, 2006 10:51 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Bruce McFarland, President of the Democratic Alliance for Action issued the following statement regarding the death of Roberta Gillis:

Roberta's hopes for rehabilitation from her stroke on March 21, and subsequent paralysis were very limited at best.

She had gotten progressively weaker as her will to live lessened.

Please take a few minutes over the next few days to remember her.

It was her wish to be cremated and not have any service, but many of her friends do want to get together and share their memories and feelings about this remarkable woman.

There will most likely be a gathering in the Antelope Valley as well as the Santa Clarita Valley.

April 15, 2006 10:55 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

She was a remarkable woman and I can't believe she is gone. I may not have always seen eye to eye with her, but I was always impressed by her spirit, drive, and determination. She was inspirational, and the party will be a little less fun and a lot less colorful without her.

Rest in peace, Roberta. We miss you.

April 15, 2006 10:12 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

May God Bless Roberta Gillis and her family and may she rest in peace.

April 17, 2006 12:55 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I well recall Roberta (with some gruding fondness) from my days in the SCV. She was indeed a 'hater', as are the bulk of democrats these days, but she did it with a modicum of humor - unlike those that follow.

April 23, 2006 6:44 PM  

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