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March 26, 2019

3/6/2019 8:49:00 AM
Philip Gillette Day at Bethany Church
Philip L. Gilette Day at Bethany Baptist Church
Philip L. Gilette Day at Bethany Baptist Church
Story and photo by Heidi Randhava

“It’s awesome to celebrate people while they’re here, while they’re present,” said Candice Richards about the “Living Legends” theme for Black History Month at Bethany Baptist Church, 1225 Elmwood Ave.

In keeping with the theme, Philip Gillette was honored with the church’s Community Impact Award and a proclamation from Mayor Stephen Hagerty that Sunday, Feb. 24 was “Philip L. Gillette Day” in Evanston.

Mr. Gillette has served the residents of Evanston for more than 50 years, providing “extraordinary care and funeral planning services to individuals experiencing the death of a precious beloved one,” the Mayor’s Proclamation stated.

Mr. Gillette has been working with what is now Thompson Funeral & Cremation Services, Inc. since 1965. The business opened in 1963 with the name The House of Thompson Mortuary, at 1917 Asbury Ave., where it remains. When founder John H. Thompson died in 1999, Mr. Gillette carried on the business and established the new name.

In addition to his many years of dedicated service at Thompson Funeral & Cremation Services, Inc., Mr. Gillette has been actively involved in the community as a past president of Kiwanis Breakfast Club of Evanston and as a leader of the Key Club at Evanston Township High School. He is a past Worshipful Master of Mt. Moriah Lodge #28 and has contributed his expertise to his church, Bethany Baptist, serving as a trustee and usher for more than a decade.

A graduate of Worsham College of Mortuary Science, Mr. Gillette is a licensed embalmer for the State of Illinois.

Reverend Martha Holmes presented the Community Impact Award and Proclamation, which marked the culmination of Black History Month activities, co-coordinated at Bethany Baptist by Ms. Richards and Bonnie Lockhart.

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