John Patrick Gillespie, 69, Social Security executive

October 23, 1999|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

John Patrick Gillespie, a retired Social Security Administration executive, died Wednesday of complications of a stroke at St. Joseph Medical Center. The Mays Chapel resident was 69.

Mr. Gillespie joined the Social Security Administration in 1952 and retired in 1984 as a special analyst at the administration'sWoodlawn headquarters.

"He loved working with the elderly and helping them with their claims," said his wife, the former Sarah Needham, whom he married in 1949.

Born in Scranton, Pa., Mr. Gillespie graduated from the University of Scranton, where he studied pre-medical and chemistry courses.

He intended to pursue a career in science, but when he was unable to find a job, he took the federal civil service examination and was hired by SSA. He served in Williamsport, Pa., Corning and and Binghamton, N.Y., before being assigned to the Baltimore headquarters in 1958.

"He was a top-flight inventive analyst," said Gerald L. Boyd, a retired SSA executive. "His most memorable development was the introduction of microfiche records into the district offices so that they would have a record of every recipient."

Mr. Gillespie never lost his interest in science and kept up on trends by subscribing to scientific journals. An avid reader, he made several visits to the public library each week. He enjoyed poetry -- the works of Robert Frost, e.e. cummings and A.E. Housman -- which he kept on his reading table.

In the 1960s and 1970s he was an active member of St. Charles Borremeo Roman Catholic Church in Pikesville, where he was a lector and taught Sunday school.

Mr. Gillespie was active in Boy Scout troops in Pikesville and Lochearn and enjoyed indoor gardening and origami.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Monday at the Church of the Nativity, 1800 Vista Lane, Timonium.

He is survived by three sons, Paul J. Gillespie of Severna Park, John P. Gillespie of Woodbine and Michael P. Gillespie of San Juan Capistrano, Calif.; three daughters, Susan Michelle Shuman of Baltimore, Sally Ann Muscalli of Stewartstown, Pa., and Mary Margaret Payne of Timonium; a sister, Laura Lee Gillespie of San Francisco; and 15 grandchildren.

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