James Edward Gilleran

May 1, 1933May 12, 2020

James E. Gilleran, born in Ellenville, New York, on May 1, 1933, to James Edward and Gertrude Marie Gilleran, passed away in Raleigh, North Carolina on May12, 2020, at the age of 87. He died peacefully at home in the arms of loved ones after enduring with valor the months of progressive illness which ultimately ended his life.

Anyone who encountered Jim, whether in professional life or in a personal setting, knew they had met an exceptional person. His wit, insightful mind, and disarming personality drew others to him all his life. Everyone liked Jim, and those who knew him well loved him.

Jim's professional life took him around the world and into a variety of challenging responsibilities. After graduating from Ellenville High School, where he was commonly known by his middle name, Edward, he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Pace University, from which he was much later to earn an Honorable Doctor of Commercial Science degree. After serving two years in the U.S. Army Finance Corps, Jim joined the major accounting firm of Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co., now known as KPMG, as a junior accountant. He remained with KPMG for twenty-five years, developing new clients, building the firm's banking practice, mentoring new leadership, helping build policy, and serving as Managing Partner of the San Francisco region of the firm's large practice. After retiring from KPMG, Jim became President of The Commonwealth Group merger and acquisitions firm in San Francisco. In 1989 he was nominated by Governor George Deukmajian to serve as California State Banking Superintendent and subsequently was re-nominated by Governor Pete Wilson. Jim's service as California's banking superintendent took place at a time in which the state faced a deep recession; his leadership led to the successful resolution of many problems. In 1992 President George H.W. Bush nominated Jim as Comptroller of the Currency (the top national bank regulator) but when Bush was defeated by Bill Clinton, Bush's nominations fell away. Jim stepped in to turn around the seriously failing Bank of San Francisco and as CEO and Chairman of the Board of that organization led it back to full recovery. During this period, Jim also studied for and received a Juris Doctor degree from Northwestern California University and passed the California State Bar examination. In 2001, GeorgeW. Bush nominated Jim to serve as Director of the Office of Thrift Supervision (top regulator of the nation's savings and loan institutions); he also served on the board which leads the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation). Not yet ready to retire at 71, Jim took on the role of CEO and Chairman of the Board of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle. In 2007, the forthcoming birth of their only grandchild led Jim, still serving on multiple boards of directors, and his wife, Peggy, to move and settle in Raleigh, North Carolina, where their daughters resided.

Jim was preceded in death by his father and mother and three precious brothers, James Gordon, Owen Francis and William James; he leaves behind his cherished wife of sixty years, Peggy; his very beloved daughters Ami Jean de Clippelaar (Bobby J.) and Laura Gilleran Merle (Mel); his greatly treasured granddaughter Ashley Jean de Clippelaar; his very much loved brothers and sister, Dr. John B. Gilleran (Mary Ann), Thomas J. Gilleran (Yasmin), and Marietta Gilleran Smith; and his dearly loved sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, Faith Breunle, Joy Jones, Kathryn Taylor, James McReynolds (Joyce), Jean Andrews (Ronald) and Thomas McReynolds (Marian) and many prized nieces and nephews.

A graveside service will be held on Saturday, May 30, 2020 at 2:00pm at Raleigh Memorial Park. Donations may be made to Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus at


  • Graveside Service

    Saturday, May 30, 2020


James Edward Gilleran

have a memory or condolence to add?

Olga Chekene

June 2, 2020

Dearest Peggy,
Please accept my sincere condolences on the death of dear Jim. I am so sorry that you have lost him. It was my good fortune to meet you and Jim in 1997 when my clients saw the moving van at your Lake Street house and begged me to contact you. Jim was not only an impressive presence and accomplished in his field he was also kind, thoughtful and a pleasure to work with. He was, indeed, an exceptional person. I have wonderful memories of working with you both on those many properties and I have thought of you two many times over these past 20 years and hoped that all had gone well for you and your daughters. I am so pleased to hear that you have a granddaughter, I'm sure she was the apple of his eye.
Olga Chekene
Formerly of San Francisco now residing in Alamo, Ca.

Jean Andrews

June 1, 2020

I first met my handsome, “New York suave” brother-in-law when I was at just about the most awkward age for a girl: 13 yrs old and I think I was tongue tied for the first year whenever he was around! But within a few years that had all changed, as he became my clear choice to represent my dad in walking me down the aisle on his strong arm. Throughout all the following decades, raising our children, contemporaries in age, sharing unforgettable, lovingly- hectic Holidays and summertime visits, (footnote: Especially observing his unforgettable style of carving a turkey). Jim was always so generous and loving, interested in all of our lives... I loved and respected Jim always but it was his honorable, loving and protective way of caring for my mom, his mother in love -as she always said-, that meant the most to me. Ron and I will always treasure the closer relationship we shared with Jim. and Peg both these last several years with our frequent trips to Raleigh...Reminiscing over our past lives as only those who are closer to the end of theirs can. And, Jim, looking forward to meeting you at the East Gate and bring the rest of the gang!!! With forever love, JeannieBug

Michael Raddie

June 1, 2020

Jim and I were partners at KPMG
We were both with the Commonwealth group
We were fellow club members
He was my friend and I will miss him
Peggy, I am so sorry
My best wishes to you and family

Jan Schreiber

June 1, 2020

Dear Laura,
I was sorry to read your dad’s obit in the SF Chronicle. I wanted to send you my condolences. Thinking of you at this time of sorrow. All my best to you and your family.

Jan Schreiber

Kathie Taylor

May 31, 2020

Good bye for now, dear brother-in-love, Jim.
You have been a part of my life since I was 18 and you were 'courting' my sister. (Being an idealistic teenager, I remember being not quite sure if you were were worthy of Peggy, my precious big sister! ) That makes me smile now as I think of the many years and fun that we shared in the McR clan. Jim, you were a big brother who I grew to admire and love as the years rolled along. There were so many good times visiting in each other's, Peggy, Ami, Laura and then later Bobby and Ashley. Our family get togethers won't be the same, now that you won't be there. But I am so thankful that I will see you again someday. Kathie

Jim McReynolds

May 31, 2020

Excerpts from “Dear Brother-In-Law, Jim”

Dad Mac was with us until Jim Gilleran’s early 40’s. They met when Jim was 25 and always had a special relationship. There was an amount of understanding, love and forward looking hope that few father and sons-in-law manage together. Many times Jim said it had a strong effect on him. It was like he had two great clans behind him the Gillerans and the McReynolds.
Polio at 39 had brought Dad Mac close brushes with death. Permanent paralysis and pain brought him closer to God. At 63 we lost him. There were very moving tributes and Jim Gilleran's moved me the most.
Always, all the time I knew him Jim Gilleran was a man of hope. And the McReynolds were always, always hopeful for Jim and Peg. Over the years when Jim and I would meet we’d reflect on how we are men of hope. Hope is honorable. Hope is vital. Hope is not ignorant. It was our bond.
Late in life Jim fully embraced Jesus, the faith of his fathers. He said he felt himself literally pulled and drawn into the arms of his Savior and it felt wonderful.
The longest prayers of my lifetime have been fulfilled and I will see Jim (along with 5 other dear brothers-in-law) with our Savior. Together we’ll be reunited with many we love in a place that has no need of pain, death or loss.

Joyce McReynolds

May 30, 2020

Jim & Peggy were the first of the many McReynolds to meet me and share their habit of warm welcome, intellectual curiosity, and joy in living.
Over 54 years we shared Christmases with our young children, Canadian reunion trips, and visits in the Bay area, Washington DC, and North Carolina. Our sons have great memories of those times. Justin remembers playing catcher so Jim could practice for throwing the first pitch at Candlestick Park. Ryan was present for Jim's swearing in as Thrifts Superintendent. Wade remembers being in Jim's study with him and laughing at "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?"
We all share in your loss, Peggy, Laura, Ami, Bobby, and Ashley. What comfort to know that through faith, this is not the end. We'll meet again to love, laugh, and challenge each other.
Much love, Joyce

Shawn Andrews

May 30, 2020

Peggy, Ami, Laura and family-
Scott and I were so sorry to hear of Jim's illness and passing. Such a funny and warm man. I will never forget the first time I met him, always ready to engage in any conversation with anyone, and with tremendous wit. We are praying for all of you that your cherished memories and the love of family and friends helps you through this time of sadness.

Love you!
Shawn (for Scott and family).

Phelene Lonstein

May 30, 2020

Peggy - It seems there's very little anyone can say or do to ease the loss of one who means so very much to you and the family. Words can tell so small a part of the sympathy within my heart.
You had a good husband who will be missed by so many. God Bless you and your family . Phelene

Joy Jones

May 30, 2020

As sister-in-law and Matron of Honor at Peg and Jim's wedding, I shared a loving relationship with Jim for many years, but even more than that, I share the hope he had and belief in the God-inspired words that our hope is not in vain and we will joyfully see each other again in eternity. Scripture expresses these truths more eloquently than I:

"This HOPE does not disappoint us, for God has poured out his love into our hearts by means of the Holy Spirit, who is God's gift to us."
Romans 5:5

"May the God of HOPE fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in HOPE. "
Romans 15:13

"This certain HOPE of being saved is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls, connecting us with God himself behind the sacred curtains of heaven," Hebrews 6:19

"Now we can look forward to the salvation God has promised us. There is no longer any room for doubt, and we can tell others that salvation is ours, for there is no question that he will do what he says. "Hebrews 10:23

See you again, Jim, but not yet, not yet.... Joy Jones

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