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1928 Clifford 2022

Clifford Minott Gilson

August 15, 1928 — April 4, 2022

Clifford Minott Gilson, age 93, residing in Penney Farms, Florida, passed away on Monday, April 4, 2022.  This man of great faith and conviction was born to Frederick L. Gilson and Hazel Minott Gilson on August 15, 1928, in Assam, Northeast India, where they were serving as missionaries with the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society (ABFMS).

Spending most of his childhood and youth in the USA, Cliff graduated in 1949 from Knox College (B.A.). During his first job teaching in Oquaka, Illinois, he sensed God’s call to the ministry and entered Colgate Rochester Divinity School, graduating in 1954 with an M.Div. degree. Cliff was ordained at the First Baptist Church of Fairport, NY on March 8,1954.

July 2, 1955, marked the beginning of his 66-year marriage to Rosemary Lorraine Farnum. Together they raised four children while working side by side as missionaries and in ministry under the auspices of the American Baptist Churches USA and the ABFMS. Cliff first served churches in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin and Morris, Illinois prior to being commissioned to serve on the mission field. Arriving in Myanmar (Burma) in March of 1961, they worked in the areas of education and evangelism until 1966 when the political situation resulted in their return to the USA.

From 1967 to 1970, he served again with the ABFMS as a chaplain and teacher at the Kodaikanal International School in South India. From 1970 until 1982, Cliff pastored the West Hoosick and Hoosick Baptist Churches in upstate New York. He then pastored the Lansdowne Baptist Church in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania for nine years.  Having served in several interim pastoral positions in succeeding years, he and Rosemary retired to Penney Retirement Community in 2002. He has continued over the years, as long as ability allowed, to do volunteer work in Myanmar, Thailand, and the retirement community in which he lived.

Over the years, Cliff was well known for his love of music, often joining choirs and ensembles wherever he lived. He also enjoyed square dancing, camping with his family, spending time on stamp collecting and doing puzzles, but his greatest passion was for people. Cliff loved telling stories, engaging with all those he met. His gift was in his ability to learn their stories and respond with care.  His sense of humor and wit were much appreciated and helped him in his own journey through difficult times.

He is known by many for his faithfulness to the call of Christ on his life and his efforts to be a disciple of Jesus in his relationships with the world and all those around him.  He was a highly principled man who was proactive on issues of social justice and peace. To his family and those he knew best, he was a loving and caring husband, father, pastor, and friend.

Clifford is survived by his sister, Winifred Gilson Ravenscroft (Calvin, d.) of Spencer, Iowa; his wife, Rosemary Farnum Gilson of Penny Farms, Florida; his children: Ruth Gilson Fox (Charles); Lisbeth Gilson Barnhouse (Donald, d.); Mary Gilson Wright (Ben); David Gilson (Suzanne Harrington); 10 grandchildren: Rachel Serra, Becca Dubay, Kenny Fox, Lucy Barnhouse, Joanna Barnhouse, Rachel Boehmer, Nathan Wright, Katie Willmorth, Hannah Gilson, and Sophie Gilson; and 2 great-grandchildren.

A celebration of his life will be planned at a future date.  In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be given to:

Friends of Burma

548 Home Avenue

Ft. Wayne, Indiana 46807-1606


Penney Retirement Community

Resident Aid Fund

P.O. Box 555

Penney Farms, Florida 32079


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