Marion Sherman Gill, 86, of Dumas, passed away on Saturday, October 20, 2018, leaving a legacy of love, charity, and leadership.
Marion was a self-made and self-reliant man, with an inner strength and relentless determination that served him well. He was highly successful by any definition. Nevertheless, throughout his life, he maintained a kind and simple demeanor that won the trust and hearts of many.
He was born on October 18, 1932, in Dumas, Arkansas to the late Dan Wright and Cora Myrtle Stephan Gill. After graduating from Dumas High School in 1950, Marion attended Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, Arkansas for two years before transferring to Arkansas A & M College where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree with honors in 1954. Shortly thereafter, near the end of the Korean War, he was drafted into the United States Army. Following his completion of basic training at Fort Gordon, he was assigned to the Pentagon, in Washington, D.C., where he worked in intelligence as a codebreaker until he was honorably discharged in 1956.
Following his military service, Marion attended law school at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. where he earned his Juris Doctor in 1959. During his tenure at George Washington University, he was employed in the office of former U.S. Representative W. F. Norrell of Arkansas.
After graduating from law school, Marion returned to Dumas and founded the Gill Law Firm.
Although he was licensed in both the District of Columbia and the State of Arkansas, he practiced law in Dumas for more than fifty years and was widely recognized for his expertise in civil litigation, real estate law, banking law, estate planning and probate. He was a persuasive advocate, whose influence with elected officials, fellow attorneys and business leaders across the state made him a formidable ally. While many sought his counsel and advice, he always maintained the heart of a simple, humble man.
Marion was appointed by Governor Dale Bumpers to the State Justice Building Commission that supervised the construction of the Arkansas Supreme Court Building and Governor David Pryor appointed him to serve as a Special Associate Justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court. As an active member of the legal community, he also served as a past president of the Southeast Arkansas Legal Institute and was a member of the American Bar Association and the Arkansas Bar Association.
Marion had a tremendous interest in and well-established record of public service. Long considered a pillar of Dumas with an astute awareness about what the community needed, he served in a variety of civic leadership roles, including Mayor, from 2005-2010, and as Dumas City Attorney for many years. Marion served as a member of the board of Directors of Merchants and Farmers Bank for fifty years. He was also a past president of the Dumas Chamber of Commerce, a past director of the Dumas Industrial Foundation, a past director of the Dumas Library Board, a past president of the Dumas Lions Club, and a member of the Lions Park Commission. He was named Dumas Man of the Year in 1965 and was a recipient of the Dumas Jaycees Distinguished Service Award. Marion also served on the Board of Trustees of Arkansas A & M College (the predecessor of the University of Arkansas at Monticello).
Steadfast in his faith, Marion was a member of the First Baptist Church in Dumas, where he taught the boys’ Sunday school and men’s bible class for many years and served as a deacon and church moderator.
The epitome of a Christ-centered life well lived, Marion led by example. Integrity, reliability, respectfulness, loyalty, authenticity, dignity, humility, and generosity: these are all qualities that Marion not only held in high esteem, but practiced every day during his time on this earth. Perhaps his finest quality, however, was his patience, which manifested itself in his inherent ability to listen, to absorb, and to offer a point of view based on quiet, measured wisdom.
Marion was happiest spending time with his family outdoors. He served as president of Red Fork Hunting Club for many years, and, as an avid outdoorsman, he was an accomplished hunter of deer, turkey, squirrels, and ducks. He and his wife, Bobbye, also loved fishing for crappie and bass in southeast Arkansas’s old oxbow lakes.
He was serious and disciplined, but he could never resist the opportunity to have a laugh with friends and loved ones, given half the chance. Never will you meet a person who more faithfully lived his values. Marion was a straightforward man who gave much to so many, but demanded little from those around him. His passing is a great loss to his family, friends, and the community he so loyally served. He was greatly loved and will be dearly missed.
Marion was preceded in death by his parents, Dan Wright and Cora Myrtle Stephan Gill, and six brothers: Stephan Wright Gill, Dan Wright “D.W.” Gill, Jr., Marvin Gardner Gill, Robert Dean “Spot” Gill, Ernest George Gill, and Billy Brooks Gill.
Marion is survived by his loving wife of sixty-two years, Roberta Anne (Bobbye) Gill; one son, Brooks Alan Gill, of Dumas, Arkansas; one daughter, Susan Paige Fegraeus, and husband, Kurt, of Plano, Texas; one grandson, Brooks Page Gill, and wife, Ashley, of Bryant, Arkansas; three granddaughters, Caroline Gill Pennington, and husband, David, of Little Rock, Arkansas, Kelsey Elaine Wade, and husband, Jordan, of Plano, Texas, and Kendall Anne Fegraeus, of Plano, Texas; many beloved cousins, nieces and nephews.
A visitation will be held at the First Baptist Church Faith Center from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Monday, October 22, 2018. A funeral service to celebrate Marion’s life will be held at First Baptist Church on Tuesday, October 23, 2018, at 2:00 p.m. Burial will follow at Union Ridge Cemetery in Monticello, Arkansas.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to the First Baptist Church, 200 E. Waterman Street, Dumas, Arkansas 71639.