Raymond Gillott, a longtime child therapist and faithful church member, died Feb. 7 at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola after a period of ill health.
He was 83.
“He worked primarily with children, and also adults,” said his wife, Doris, of Levittown. “He was interested in helping kids have better living and school and family situations.”
Gillott fell in love with his wife during his senior year at Hempstead High School, when they both worked on the school newspaper, the Patriot.
“She was editor-in-chief and I was an exchange reporter responsible for gathering news from other schools,” Gillott wrote in Newsday’s Love Story column after their 50th anniversary in 2007. “Doris was a wonderful editor. I didn’t have to be at the paper every day, but I would show up anyway just to fool around with everyone and to flirt with her. We really enjoyed that time on the newspaper.”
He wrote that on their first date in 1951, “I took her to see ‘David and Bathsheba,’ starring Gregory Peck, at the Baldwin Theater on Merrick Road.”
He went to Rider College (now Rider University) in New Jersey and studied journalism, and when he graduated in 1956 came back to work in Nassau County’s welfare department, Doris Gillott said. After almost 10 years, she said he received his master’s degree in social work from Adelphi University and began his second career at South Shore Child Guidance Center in Freeport. He retired in 1999, she said.
Away from work, she said her husband enjoyed gardening and baseball.
“He was a [Brooklyn] Dodgers fan, and then a Mets fan until his dying day,” she said. “We didn’t weep tears when they [the Dodgers] left [Brooklyn in 1957], but he was upset.”
Doris Gillott said her husband also was active in Christ Lutheran Church in Freeport. He was a Sunday school teacher and served on the church’s council, she said. “He had a strong faith,” she said.
He also served on the board of Thrivent Financial’s Nassau chapter. Thrivent is a Christian-oriented financial services company.
After his retirement, she said the couple traveled throughout Europe and North America. He also liked to write historical articles, often for the Freeport Herald.
Besides his wife, he is survived by a son, David, of Cary, North Carolina; two daughters, Lynn Mitchell and Laura Castrogiovanni, both of Levittown; five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
Services were Feb. 10 at Christ Lutheran Church in Freeport. Cremation followed.