Nature 14

William B. Gilman

January 29, 1965 ~ October 19, 2023 (age 58) 58 Years Old
Obituary Image

William Gilman Obituary

William Benson Gilman passed away on October 19th, 2023. He was fifty-eight years of age. Bill was born in Westfield, Massachusetts on January 29th of 1965, to Jean Bentley Gilman and Eugene Ward Gilman. Bill lived in Westfield for part of his adult life, but eventually moved to Montgomery, Massachusetts with his wife Deborah in 2005; the family continued to reside in Montgomery at the time of his passing. He found great pleasure in the natural wonder of the more rural area he moved to from Westfield when he and the family relocated to Montgomery.  Bill grew up on Lowell Avenue in Westfield, playing with the many children his age that lived in the neighborhood and showing a great affinity for the outdoors, with many a summer day spent with his friends at nearby Stanley Park, and his love of nature would later partly color his choice of career. Bill graduated from Westfield High School and earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Westfield State University in 1991. While in college, Bill was a Music major for several semesters and this would be another passion that would never leave him, despite his eventually changing career directions and studying Biology as an upper classman at Westfield State. Upon graduating, Bill relocated and lived in southern California for a year, fulfilling a childhood dream to live near the beach on the Pacific Ocean. Bill’s early professional life was very much informed by his love of nature and the outdoors. After his year in California, he worked for several seasonal environmental scholarly projects scattered around the United States, which took him throughout the country during his association with each study. Among his favorites from this peripatetic professional period of his career, he was particularly proud of his working with the University of Missouri in 1995 on a study of prairie birds, their migratory, feeding and habitation patterns; the Corvalis Forestry Science Laboratory in Oregon in 1996, studying migratory and habitation patterns of the Spotted Owl and Pygmy Owl in the old growth forests of western Oregon; his work with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries in Stevensville, Virginia in 1997, working at a fish hatchery and on the waterways of Virginia, tracking, tagging and stocking fisheries within the state; and the project with Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado in 1998, on a study of the Golden Cheek Warbler and its environs throughout the state. Throughout this professional period of Bill’s life, he was constantly on the road, moving from one seasonal project to another seasonal environmental position and took great joy from his work with wildlife and the studies of their habitats. In 2001 he met and fell in love with his future wife, Deborah Clark, and shifted professional gears, as his well-travelled career lifestyle was not consistent with his and Deb’s desire to start a family. Bill and Debbie would eventually marry on October 25th, 2002. He took a series of positions over the next several years with various laboratories in the western Massachusetts market. While he enjoyed the opportunity to utilize more of his scientific skills in these settings, he missed the possibility of working in the outdoors which his previous scholarly studies had allowed him. Eventually, he was able to match his scientific skills with a position that included much time out of doors again, when he took a job with John Turner Consulting in 2006. With Turner, Bill was responsible for managing construction projects, soil sampling and concrete testing, as well as coordinating technicians in the field and in the laboratory. He followed this by taking the position of Quality Control Technician with John S. Lane and Son Construction in Westfield, Massachusetts in 2013, which entailed many of the same responsibilities. Bill eventually took a position with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation in 2022, in charge of project Quality Control, which would be his last professional position and he was still working for the Department of Transportation at the time of his passing. In addition to his professional career, Bill was most passionate about his family life and his two favorite pursuits from his youth, music and the great outdoors. He was a very accomplished musician, playing both Classical and Rock guitar and composed many original musical pieces over his lifetime. He also loved to hike with his many friends when not working and was often found out in the beauty of nature, particularly loving to hike in the nearby habitat of Cobble Mountain Reservoir in the days when it was open to the public. But, as much as Bill loved his music and outdoor recreation, he was first and foremost the consummate family man, with his love for his wife and daughter outshining all of the other interests in his life. Once he and Debbie met, (or to be more accurate, met again, as they had been students together in Westfield from the age of kindergarten!), Bill’s life revolved around his family. Bill and Debbie welcomed their daughter, Meghan Gilman, into the world on May 8th, 2006, and from that point on up until Bill’s passing, he was first and foremost a father to his dearly beloved daughter. He was very much looking forward to sharing her graduation from high school with her in the spring and all of the important landmarks of their lives together in the coming years. To paraphrase artist Paul Simon, there was never a father who loved his daughter more than Bill loved Meghan. Bill leaves behind his wife Deborah Gilman and daughter Meghan Gilman, as well as two brothers, James Gilman and John Gilman and a large network of close friends. Visiting hours will be held for Bill will be held on Saturday, October 28, 2023 from 12PM-2PM in Firtion Adams Funeral Service, 76 Broad St. Westfield followed by a Celebration of Life at 2PM.         

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of William B. Gilman, please visit our floral store.

Friends and family have shared their relationship to show their support.
How do you know William B. Gilman?
We are sorry for your loss.
Help others honor William's memory.


October 28, 2023

12:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Firtion Adams FS (Broad St. Westfield, MA)

Celebration of Life
October 28, 2023

2:00 PM
Firtion Adams FS (Broad St. Westfield, MA)


© 2023 Firtion Adams Funeral Home. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Accessibility