Donald E. Gillis

May 14, 1947February 4, 2020

The passing of Donald E. "Don" Gillis of Keene, NH, leaves an irreplaceable void in the Cheshire Academy for Lifelong Learning Program at Keene State College. Don was a beloved teacher and exuberant lifelong learner with a passion for history. Don passed on February 4, 2020 after a short battle with aggressive multiple myeloma.

His parents, John A. and Mary Ann (MacKinnon) Gillis welcomed their son into the world on May 14, 1947 in Brighton, MA.

Don was a graduate of St. Mary’s High School in Waltham, MA. Following graduation, he enlisted in the Navy, serving for four years. After his Navy obligation, he attended Boston University, graduating with a degree in business. He later earned his masters degree from UMass Amherst and a second Masters in History from Villanova University.

Don worked in non-profit accounting for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as well as the Texas Woman’s University - Houston; the West Philadelphia Partnership; and the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. He taught as an adjunct history professor at a number of colleges and universities in Philadelphia.

Following a move to Keene in 2009, Don continued his love for teaching by teaching many different history and intellectual heritage courses in the CALL Program at Keene State College, ranging from "NH in the Civil War" to "Women’s Rights in the 20th Century" and from "World History in the Movies" to "Intellectual Heritage of Democracy".

Don will be fondly remembered for his big beard and constant smile, his gentle humor, and his passion for history and learning. It was this passion for learning that made him such a favorite amongst the CALL family.

Don also shared another passion, that of traveling, especially river cruises in Europe.

Although he never married, Don leaves his longtime partner, Margaret Kasschau and her family, Kristin Kasschau and her husband, Chris Sullivan, and Michael Kasschau and his wife, Amaris Weller, and three grandchildren, Forrest, Lauren and Kiera; five sisters, Joan Elliott, Edith DeMeo, Ruth Sullivan, Sarah McGuire, Mary McGreal; many nieces and nephews; and his many students whose lives he melded with his teaching in the CALL Program. He was predeceased by two brothers, John and Neil.

A gathering of friends and family for "Remembering Don Gillis" will be held on Friday, March 27, 2020 at 3:30PM in Rhodes Hall on the Keene State College Campus.

In lieu of flowers, should friends wish, donations may be made in Don’s memory to Keene State College for the CALL Wonderment Scholarship, 229 Main Street, Keene, NH 03431.


  • Margaret Kasschau, Longtime Partner
  • Kristin Kasschau and husband, Chris Sullivan, Margaret's Daughter
  • Michael Kasschau and wife, Amaris Weller, Margaret's Son
  • Joan Elliott, Sister
  • Edith DeMeo, Sister
  • Ruth Sullivan, Sister
  • Sarah McGuire, Sister
  • Mary McGreal, Sister
  • John Gillis, Brother (deceased)
  • Neil Gillis, Brother (deceased)
  • Mary Ann (MacKinnon) Gillis, Mother (deceased)
  • John A. Gillis, Father (deceased)
  • Margaret Kasschau's grandchildren, Forrest, Lauren and Kiera; many nieces and nephews; and his many students whose lives he melded with his teaching in the CALL Program.


27 March

A Gathering Of Friends and Family for Remembering Don Gillis

3:30 pm

Rhodes Hall on Keene State College Campus


Donald E. Gillis

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