Philip F.M. Gilley Jr, DDS


Philip F.M. Gilley Jr, DDS

Beloved Father, Orthodontist and Air Force Veteran.

Philip F.M. Gilley Jr., DDS, died May 16, 2018, in Ashburnham, Mass., where he made his summer home. He was born in Southwest Harbor on July 21, 1925. He graduated from Pemetic High School in Southwest Harbor. He attended Bowdoin College and was a member of the Theta Delta Chi fraternity. In July 1943, he was ordered to duty in the V-12 program at Bates College. In February of 1944, he transferred to the Navy V-5 Aviation Cadet program. When WWII ended in 1945, he returned to Bowdoin to complete his predental requirements. Subsequently, Philip graduated from Northwestern University Dental School, in Chicago, Ill., in 1949, where he also met and married Joan Pearson in 1948. He returned to Southwest Harbor, where he went into general practice with his father. He received his Bowdoin degree cum laude with the Class of 1949.

On Feb. 1, 1951, Philip was recalled to active military service, this time as a dentist in the U.S. Air Force. From 1951 to 1954, he served at Ramey Air Force Base in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

Upon discharge from the Air Force, he entered Tufts University Dental School for a residency in orthodontia. When he graduated from Tufts in June 1956 he established his orthodontic practice in Fitchburg, Mass. From 1956 to 1960, he continued his association with Tufts as a part time instructor in orthodontia. From 1960 to 1968, he instructed orthodontics at Boston University, attaining the rank of associate professor. He maintained his practice in Fitchburg from 1956 to 1987.

He was a life member of the American Dental Association, the Massachusetts Dental Society and the Massachusetts District Dental Society, where he was president from 1965-1966. He was a member of the American Association of Orthodontics, a diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics, member of the Charles H. Tweed Foundation for Orthodontic Research, past president of the Eastern Component of the Edward H. Angle Society of Orthodontia, member of the Tufts University Association of Orthodontists and member of the Massachusetts Society of Orthodontists.

Phil was a board member and vice president of the Fitchburg YMCA, board member and vice president of the United Fund and chairman of the Annual United Fund Campaign in 1964. He was a member of the board of directors Fitchburg Chamber of Commerce 1964-1967 and 1975-1978. He was a charter member of Rotary from 1960 to the time of his death and past president of Fitchburg Rotary 1982-1983. Life member of the G.V. Black Society of Northwestern University. He was a 60-year member of the Tremont Lodge AF and AM Southwest Harbor, a life member of the American Legion and VFW, life member of the National Rifle Association, member of the Fitchburg Sportsman Club, a member First Parish Church, Fitchburg, a member of Maplewood Golf Club, Lunenburg, Mass., member of the Cocoa Beach Golf Club, Cocoa Beach Florida and a Real Estate Broker in Massachusetts from 1979-2000 and real estate salesperson in Florida from 1990-2005. Phil was an Eagle Scout and past president of the Nashua Valley Council Boy Scouts.

He is survived by his friend, Judith Flynn; his daughter, Pamela Skinner; sons Philip F.M. Gilley III and Carl P. Gilley; two grandsons; one granddaughter and two great-granddaughters. He was predeceased by daughter Karen and his wife of 57 years, Joan (Pearson) Gilley.

Family and friends are planning to honor and celebrate Dr. Gilley’s life at a memorial service on Wednesday, June 6, 2018, in the First Parish Unitarian Church of Fitchburg, 923 Main St., Fitchburg, Mass., at 10 a.m. Burial will be private. Calling hours will be held on Tuesday, June 5, 2018, in the Smith-Mallahy-Masciarelli and the Fitchburg Chapel of the Sawyer-Miller-Masciarelli Funeral Homes, 243 Water St., Fitchburg from 4-7 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the First Parish Unitarian Church, 923 Main St., Fitchburg, MA 01420.

For more information please visit

John F. Masciarelli, Walter C. Taylor and James M. Hebert, funeral directors.

Know when to pay your respects.