Glenda Gillen dies at 79; helped bring Head Start to town

Glenda L. Gillen, 79, passed away in her home surrounded by her husband and children "and lots of love" on May 18 in Wrangell.

Glenda's family will hold a private church service for her.

Glenda was born to Harriet and Alton McAllister in Ketchikan on Nov. 6, 1942.

She lived several years in Kasaan with her family and loved spending as much time as she could with her grandfather James Peele.

She is the granddaughter of Chief Son-I-Hat of the Whale house of the Yaada tribe. She is Haida eagle of beaver moiety.

Glenda loved being with children and worked at the elementary school while working her way to a degree in early childhood development. She later helped bring the Head Start program to Wrangell, where she worked as head teacher until retirement.

She enjoyed her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and loved being at her cabin on the Stikine River.

Glenda is survived by her husband of 62 years Tom Gillen Sr .; children Dawn (Brent) Mill, Tom Gillen Jr., Ron Gillen, Jodie (Chris) Guggenbickler, and Deed (Chris) Gillen, all of Wrangell; sister Kathy McAllister and brother John McAllister, of Ketchikan; grandchildren Tamara (Scott) Eastaugh, Kristin Mill, Rachel (Jake) Harris, Mandi (Tyler) Janssen, Jacquie (Sean) Andrews, Sara Gadd, Krysta Gillen, Tyler Gillen, Sonny (Jessica) Guggenbickler, Michael Guggenbickler, David (Alicia) Gillen and Andrea Gillen; and 29 great-grandchildren.

She is preceded in death by her daughter Melody Gillen; parents Alton and Harriet McAllister; brothers Louie, Ivan and Harry McAllister; sister Helen Benge; and granddaughter Nichole Gillen.

A celebration of life will be held at a later date.


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