I was born Christopher “Chris” C. Gilman in Exeter, New Hampshire, on November 14, 1950 to Steve J. Gilman and Ann Gilman. I’m survived by my beloved wife, Sonia N. Gilman; my mother, Ann Gilman Dawson; stepfather, Peter Dawson; my daughters, Caitlin Gilman and Corinne Guerrero (Abe); stepdaughter, Emily Seremeta (Steven); stepson, Hugh Veal III (Mandy); grandkids, Caiden (5), Landon (4), and Ellie (2) Veal, and Ford Seremeta (6 weeks old); my sisters, Susan Hardy (Tim), Deborah Gilman, and Phoebe Gilman (Robert); my mother-in-law, Emma Nunez; sister-in-law, Sandra Carroll (Kirby); brother-in-law, Jose Luis “Coco” Nunez (Patty); and aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, nieces, friends, and SPQs and Ks. I was preceded in death by my father Stephen “Steve” J. Gilman and my father-in-law Luis “Lucho” Nuñez.
My life began in motion, traveling from childhood to adulthood. The first years of my life were on the East Coast, mainly in New Jersey, the rest of my childhood and adolescence were in Libertyville, IL, where I graduated from high school. I attended Carleton College in MN and lived in numerous cities where I held a variety of jobs from riverboat deckhand to driving a cab in Cambridge, Mass. I moved to Seattle in the early 80’s and worked as a fisherman in AK for many summers before getting my graduate degree at the UW. In 1990, through my employment as a teacher with Edmonds Community College I moved to Kobe, Japan. In 1997, I worked for the Japan-US Educational Fulbright Commission in Tokyo in the role of Educational Information Officer. After 11 years in Japan, I returned to Seattle in 2001 to work as the Vice President of Associates in Cultural Exchange. From 2007 to the time of my death, I worked at the University of WA as the International and English Language Programs Senior Director.
One of my favorite pastime interests was reading about philosophy, comparative religion, politics and languages. I was interested in languages and learned to speak Japanese, French and Spanish. I was a writer, a minor poet and I dabbled in guitar playing and in theater. My passion was traveling and immersing myself in different cultures. I loved collecting maps, of any kind; they fascinated me. I traveled extensively. My travels were happier with Sonia by my side. We traveled the world, and she had more experience in travel than I did so between the two of us, we savored foreign cuisines, honored the different cultures’ rituals and always found a Catholic Mass on Sundays whether we were in Tokyo, Paris, La Paz or Walla Walla.
Seattle was a significant city for me as I found my way back to the church during those years at St. Joe’s. Seattle is where both my daughters, Caitlin and Corinne, were born, and where I found love and the meaning of a sacramental marriage with my Sonia. Together we blended our families and acquired a blessed life with renewed relationships with my parents, my sisters and their families, and with friends new and old. Sonia and I created a wonderful life in Edmonds, a place we love, surrounded by family, friends, good neighbors, kind tourists and sunsets that took our breaths away.
I shall miss this life, but I’ll be in a place of eternal love, peace and free from worldly attachments and suffering. Thank you to the UW medical team for your care; my colleagues, friends and extended family, special love and thanks to our close friends and family, we couldn’t have done this without you. Thank you to my daughters, Caitlin and Corinne, simply for being who you are – I loved you since the day you were born and you know it. Caitlin T., keep in the path you love, if theater makes you happy, let the applause fill you with love, be strong and keep the faith. NfromB, you and Abe are doing the right thing, you have my blessing to move away but don’t stop cheering for the Mariners. I’m so happy you and Abe are expecting. Abe, good luck with the job relocation, I know you’ll take care of Corinne and the baby. Thank you to my stepdaughter and son-in-law, Emily and Steve, I have come to love you as my own, and I experienced acceptance and love through your patience, actions and help through the last stage of my life. I admired your relationship, true and true. Baby Ford was a gift from God to the family, it became imperative that baby Ford and I napped together every afternoon, what a gift! Thank you to my stepson and daughter-in-law, Hughey and Mandy, you guys got it together raising a family, keep it that way, I love you guys; I’m not surprised often but Hughey constantly surprised me with excellence, from faith to deeds. Mandy, you are a loving mother and wife and daughter-in-law, your faith is pure and evident, keep it that way. Caiden, Landon and Ellie, we rejoiced when you each of you arrived and my relationship with each of you was unique from a nod of the head to the special handshake and hide and seek. Take care of baby #4. To my Sonia, we prepared for this physical separation for a while; it turns out, you are stronger than anyone I know and I thought my faith was solid until I met you – you taught me more about faith, love and faithfulness than I ever thought possible. When I met you, I recognized your soul, you were the one, you will always be my beauty, my love, my soulmate. We lived a sacramental marriage and I’ll be with you, always. Until, we are together again in God’s eternal love, I’ll remain yours forever.