Matthew Baron Gillard, 54 years old, passed away in the Mediterranean Sea off the north coast of the Greek island of Crete on Friday, July 8th, 2016.
Born on March 23, 1962 in London, England, he grew up in Biggin Hill, Kent, where generations of Gillards have lived. After graduating from art college with a degree in product design, he worked as a painter and graphic designer in both Brighton and London. He was also a talented drummer and played in Christian bands “Meet Jesus Music” and "Kingdom Come" and in worship bands at Christian camps. At 29 years old, pursuing a closer relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, he embarked on a solo journey around the world on his motorcycle via Europe, Iran, Pakistan and China and, on his way home through the USA he met his bride, Janna who was studying at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. In 2 weeks, he had proposed and 5 months later he moved to the USA where they married on August 1, 1992.
In 1993 he began work as a graphic designer in Chicago and continued to freelance for the same company until the day of his death. He and Janna moved to Tennessee in 2000 where he designed and built a house in Temperance Hall, Dekalb County, in 2003. Having played guitar and drums since his youth, he wrote songs and led worship music at Crossroads Community Church in Baxter for 8 years, during which time he produced his own CD. He was led to serve the Lord with his many talents in Greece, where the family moved in 2015, and that is where he is buried.
He is survived by his loving wife of 24 years, their two precious sons Gabriel Isaac Gillard (aged 12) and Grayson Guy Gillard (aged 10). In England: his parents Geoff and Carol Gillard of Biggin Hill; brother Nick and Rachel Gillard, niece Ellie, nephew Luke and wife Victoria of Liverpool, niece Carys and husband Tim Anderson of Leeds; sister Anna and Sean McCallion, nephew Alfie and niece Jasmine of Farnham. Also, Aunt Daphne, Aunt Rosie and Uncle Chris, Uncle David and Aunt Susie, all of Biggin Hill and cousins Alyson, Kevin and Tim; Ben, Isaac, Tom, Stephen and Emily; Dan, Joe and Amy; all of their spouses and children and close family friends Dan and Celia Thurgood and Nigel Hedden.
His in-laws, who considered him like a son and brother, are Janna’s parents, Jack and Barbara Isaacson, and sister Lisa and Terry Orme, with nieces and nephews Kierstin, Micah, Zane and Chloe, all of Chattanooga.
A special celebration of Matt’s life will be held for anyone who knows the family on Sat. Aug. 20 at The River Community Church in Cookeville, TN. Visitation is from noon-2pm. Service is from 2-3pm, followed by food and further fellowship at nearby Wilhite Baptist Church until 6pm.