Jackie A. Gillings

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Jackie Ann Holcombe Gillings, 68, left this earth way too early on Friday, May 19, 2023. She was in her happy place, beside her guy, with their suitcases packed for her next adventure. She just decided to take it alone. 

Born in Pittsburgh, PA, on December 17, 1954, Jackie was the daughter of Teddy and Bonnie (Sims) Holcombe and was the ever-guiding, big sister of Jill. Jackie graduated from Battle Creek’s Lakeview High School in 1973. She met the love of her life, Gary Gillings, while they attended Western Michigan University. She continued to root for her Broncos as loud as she could in a family of Michigan State Spartan fans.

Gary and Jackie married at the Michigan State chapel and spent their life together, living as close to the beaches as Jackie could get. Gaylord, Union Pier, and Harbor Springs, Michigan, and Punta Gorda, Florida, were just a few of her favorite places.

Jackie had a lifelong dedication to her early elementary, special education, students. She enjoyed traveling with her family, sitting on a beach, anywhere, spending time with her nieces and nephews, and doing all kinds of craft projects. 

Left to cherish Jackie’s memory is her partner of almost 50 years, Gary; mother-in-law, Bernadine Gillings; sister, Jill (Ron) Coss; brother-in-law, Donald (Jan) Gillings; sister-in-law, Deonna Gillings Montei; aunt (and big sister) Carolyn (Tommy) Hacker; aunt, Ida (Tim)  Morello; nieces, Heather (Rob) Montei, Sarah (Jim) Parker, Erin (Seth) Stanton, and Alison (Christopher) Witherspoon; nephews, Nicholas (Peggy) Montei, Evan (Britni) Coss, and Cory Coss; plus great-nephews, Landen Montei, Alexander Colosky, Grant Witherspoon, and Hendrix Coss; great-nieces, Zoe Montei, Marie Stanton, and Sylvie Stanton; cousin, Jodie O’Hare; and numerous adopted nieces, nephews, and special family friends. 

She was preceded in death by her parents, Ted, and Bonnie; father-in-law, Lyle Gillings; brothers-in-law, Lyle Brett Gillings and Randy Montei; sisters-in-law, LaRae Munk and Karla Gillings; and great-nephew, JaedenColosky.

Jackie’s family will visit with friends from 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m., Saturday, May 27, 2023, at the Michaywe Clubhouse in Gaylord, Michigan. A Celebration of Life will take place at 3:00 p.m., with dinner to follow.

Those who wish to make memorial donations may consider contributions in Jackie’s name to the Early On Association, Miles-4-Migrants, or may plant a memorial tree on her behalf. 

Arrangements were entrusted to the Nelson Funeral Home and Cremation Service, P.O. Box 1548, Gaylord, MI, 49734.

18 comments on “Jackie A. Gillings”

  1. Paul and Kim Lieberman

    We are so sad to hear of Jackie’s passing. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Gary and family and friends.

  2. Marlene Monica

    Such a sweet soul…we have had many great memories together. Rest in peace Sweetie. Prayers to Jill and Gary and family.

  3. My deepest sympathy to Gary and all of Jackie’s family. She was such a warm, caring friend and we will miss her. Sending hugs.

  4. Marcia Chamberlin

    1 Thessalonians 4:15-18
    For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means proceed those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the Air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

    We Loved here and miss her dearly and we will see our beloved Jackie again for she was a believer. May Gary find comfort in this verse.

  5. To the Gillings and Holcombe families, we are so sorry for your loss. Jackie was the most loving, caring and compassionate soul we knew. She will always be in our hearts. Until we meet again Jackie, love you much.
    Glenn and Debbie Nolan

    1. Dear Gary and Family, sorry we lost Jackie the other night. She was always smiling and laughing. We will miss her very much . Lots of love.

  6. Kathy Van Singel

    I’m so sorry for the loss of my friend Jackie. We have lost touch since high school . Did not realize that she was sick. Your family is in my prayers . Kathy Van Singel

  7. Shocked and incredibly sad to hear the news about sweet Jackie.

    We met via a small art group in Southwestern Michigan and she was always smiling, always sharing her talents and creative ideas. Even after moving north, she continued to share projects and recipes online, as well as photos of her passions; her family and being out doors and on the water.

    Please accept sincere condolences to Gary and her family who, I know, meant everything to her. Her loss is tragic in so many ways, but she leaves behind a legacy of love. She will be missed by all of us, even from a distance.

  8. Melissa VanderZyden

    I worked with Jackie for several years at Early On in Berrien County. Jackie was a gift to all those who knew her. She had a smile that lit up the room and a laugh that was infectious. Her positive impact will be felt for generations to come. She will be greatly missed. Sending my sincere condolences to Gary and her family.

  9. Mary- Therese Van Hollenbeck

    Dear Gary, and family of Jackie, I am just so sad about the passing of your sweet Jackie. I am not a faithful follower of Facebook but would often see Jackie’s creative gems-but today I saw this posting and I am crushed. I met Jackie years ago when I was teaching in Niles, Berrien County school system. I was teaching special education, pre-K and Jackie and I went to a summer camp class for preschool special education. We were roommates with Lynne Kesterke, and we had such a ball. We were active in CEC activities and We never lost track of one another even when I moved to Florida. It was about 10 years ago she and Gary met my husband and I at our home in Vero Beach. Jackie, had a smile that never quit and such a contagious laugh and kind, positive spirit. I always thought I would see her again… I hope I do. For some reason I can’t stop crying because I feel like our world needs more laughter and more people like Jackie. Shine down on us sweet lady and help our spirits see and spread the more positive sides of life. Love Mary- Therese Van Hollenbeck Xoxo

    1. Dear Gary and Family of Jackie, I am so sorry for your loss. Jackie was as sweet as they come. She always had a smile and infectious laugh. She will be missed by all.

  10. Diane Whalen-Wenger

    Prayers for her family. Jackie and I graduated from high school in the same class.
    Remembering the sweet high school classmate.

  11. Venise M Pedzinski

    My deepest sympathy to Gary and to Jackie’s family. I am so sorry for your loss. Jackie was a great person!

  12. Dear Gary and family,
    Oh how everyone loved Jackie 💗She was truly a gift to all. I never heard negative words from her mouth! Such a kind loving sweetheart of a friend. We sure tried to get together this past year but somehow it just couldn’t come together. Jackie and I would laugh till we cried, so many fun times in high school and at Western. Sometimes God places the sweetest friend in your life, that was Jackie! Until we meet upon heaven, no goodbye, just see you later.💗
    Forever friend,

  13. Dear Gary, Jill and all of Jackie’s family,
    I am deeply saddened and so sorry for your loss. Jackie will leave a legacy of a beautiful caring soul that touched all of our lives. She will be greatly missed.
    Fond memories, Jean

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