Joseph Stras Gillespie Jr., a retired telephone company personnel executive and a sports coach, died of complications from Parkinson's disease Monday at his Severna Park home. He was 76.
Born in Tazewell, Va., he earned a bachelor's degree from Hampden-Sydney College, where he ran track and cross country. He attended the University of Virginia's graduate school of economics.
He served in the Navy as a seaplane aviator in anti-submarine warfare from 1954 to 1958.
He joined the old Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co. and became its general manager of personnel. He had offices in Baltimore and Washington, and retired in 1985.
He was a coach in Anne Arundel County recreation leagues and at Severna Park High School, where he was active in its junior varsity girls basketball, girls softball and boys baseball programs. He also coached Amateur Athletic Union basketball and Greater Severna Park Athletic Association teams, which are known as the Green Hornets. He also served on the group's board of directors. A playing field at Kinder Farm Park in Millersville is named in his honor.
He also enjoyed the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, theater, travel and time spent with his family.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. today at Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church, 611 Baltimore-Annapolis Blvd., where he was a member.
Survivors include his wife of nearly 52 years, the former Gale Branch; a son, James Selwyn Gillespie of Charlottesville, Va.; two daughters, Ellen G. Oakes and Emily G. Clement, both of Severna Park; and 13 grandchildren.