Obituaries

John Rapolla Gill

On August 10, 2021, the world was robbed of an enigmatic and phenomenal soul. John Rapolla Gill was born on August 9, 1946, in Piti, Guam where he was raised on the island by his mother Caridad Rapolla Gill and his father Basil Caine Gill until 1965 when he joined the United States Marine Corp. With an incredible devotion to his oath, he persevered through bootcamp with an admirable tenacity that surely angered his drill sergeants. In July of 1967, while stationed at the Yorktown Naval Weapons Station he stumbled upon the woman that would become the love of his life and the mother of his children at a small restaurant at Yorktown beach. Four short weeks later he married Dequanta Joy Collinsworth in a simple and quaint ceremony at the Naval Weapons Station on August 24, 1967. He was immediately shipped off to Vietnam where he survived some of the most insurmountable battles, to include the fall of Khe
Sahn where he was the sole survivor in his platoon.

Over the years John and Joy had three beautiful albeit feisty and headstrong daughters that gave him a run for his money. Although he was surrounded in a snake pit full of estrogen (even all the pets were females), he managed to still have hair at his passing and proved over the years that only the strongest of souls can survive a household of Gill women. Despite his sarcasm and jokes, his three daughters Lisa, Sheri and Kathy were all aware that they were his world and his reason. He raised them with the strength of the most invincible Marine and gave his girls all the love he could find in the world. Through his devotion to his wife Joy who preceded him in death in July of 2010, he taught his girls the value of vows and the true meaning of unconditional love, no matter the imperfections and obstacles that may come with it. John continued to shape the world around him with each grandbaby he was given, and he spoiled Jonathon and Katelyn with love and anything their parents said they couldn’t have. He was quick to be silly with them and always had to be the first to feed them an Oreo (usually when he was babysitting and in the absence of their mother). Telling the world how much he loved those two couldn’t possibly be justified with words.

John did not know a stranger and was fiercely protective of anyone he loved. The chef of
many neighborhood Christmas morning breakfasts, he taught the world around him that laughter and togetherness were the things that mattered most. He was always quick to crack a joke, rock a baby to sleep, or lend a helping hand in anything he could. He was surrounded by an incomprehensible respect and love that often baffled his humble nature. John leaves behind an incredible legacy of strength, love, and guidance to anyone that was lucky enough to be in his presence. He will be missed by far too many people to name.

John leaves an incredible extended family behind to include his three daughters Lisa Gill,
Sheri Gill Dixon, and Kathy Gill; two grandchildren Jonathon Dixon and Katelyn Ross; sister Mary Gill Flores and her children Angela Mendiola, Sharlene Guerrero and
Franklin Guerrero; brother Anthony Gill and wife Harriette and their children
Jonathan and Matthew Gill; sister-in-law Charlotte Collinsworth and her children Brian
and Jason Collinsworth; and his uncle Manuel Rapolla.

The family invites guests to join them in a celebration of John’s life from 5:00 p.m. until they kick us out on Saturday, September 11, 2021, at the Moose Lodge, 5429 Richmond Road, Williamsburg, VA 23188. For those that wish to pay their respects a graveside service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 12, 2021, at Hampton Veterans Memorial Gardens, 55 Butler Farm Road, Hampton, VA 23666.

In honor of his prior service, the family is asking that donations be made in his honor to the Wounded Warrior Foundation. Semper Fi forever Daddy…

1 Comment

  1. Garth Malena

    So sorry for your loss. Something tells me he is laughing at yout homage to his life. Have a wonderful celebration of his life filled with many beautiful memories.

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