Leonard John Gill
Glenwood Springs author Leonard Gill passed away March 13 at his home. He was 75.There will be a celebration of his life from 3-5 p.m. Saturday, April 9, at the 19th Street Diner, 1908 Grand Ave., in Glenwood Springs.Cremation has taken place. Leonard was born Dec. 20, 1930, in Nairobi, Kenya, British East Africa, to Harold Warren and Molly Elizabeth (Chambers) Gill. He attended Prince of Wales high school in Nairobi and Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.He is survived by his wife Kaye McKenzie, whom he married on Sept. 27, 1996. He was also married to Doris Davis and Patricia Pleice. Leonard is also survived by his son D. John Gill, of Alford, Surrey, United Kingdom; daughter, Julie Gill of Nairobi; stepson Brian Zarn of Orange Park, Fla.; sister Elizabeth Millborrow of Wales, United Kingdom; five grandchildren: Nina, 18, Oriana 15, Steven, 13, Danielle, 17, and Sarah, 11; as well as many special friends in the USA, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and Africa.In his later years, Leonard wrote about his experiences growing up in Kenya and serving in the military during the Mau Mau rebellion.Leonard’s childhood followed the lines of many small boys, getting into mischief and learning the ways of the world, but against the exotic backdrop of colonial East Africa.In 1950, Leonard returned from college in Ireland and went to work. The following year, the militant anti-British government organization, the Mau Mau, launched a campaign of murder against its political enemies. Leonard joined the Kenyan Police Reserve and within the year joined the Kenya Regiment. After completing his training he was assigned to the Kings African Rifles in 1953. Besides having to deal with the guerrilla tactics of the Mau Mau terrorists, Leonard also had to tackle extra-military situations such as poison arrows, charging rhinos and marauding elephants.He served three years of active service, during which he spoke “kiswahili” almost exclusively, and then returned to his job with an import/export firm in Nairobi.After the country declared independence from British rule in 1963, Leonard remained in Kenya and worked as a mechanical engineer, married and raised two children. In the mid-1970s, government in Kenya became more and more corrupt and law and order a thing of the past. Leonard took early retirement at 57 and in 1989 moved to Britain.He married Kaye McKenzie in 1996 and moved to Glenwood Springs. There, at Kaye’s urging, he began writing his memoirs. He published five books: “Rambunctious Reflections,” “Rollicking Recollections,” “Military Musings,” “More Military Musings,” and “Remembering the Regiment.”Memorial contributions may be made to the Leonard J. Gill Memorial account at any Alpine Bank to endow sets of his books to libraries, hospitals and schools.
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