Joseph Gillen


June 14, 1937 - November 7, 2019


Joseph Gillen, 82, of Sioux Falls, SD, died Thursday, November 7, 2019 at his home.

Funeral services will be 11:00 AM Tuesday, November 12, at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in White Lake, SD. Burial will be at the St. Peter’s Catholic Cemetery. Visitation will be one hour prior to the funeral. Arrangements by Bittner Funeral Chapel.

Joseph William Gillen was born June 14, 1937 in Mitchell, SD to Peter and Margaret Elvira Gillen. Joe grew up in White Lake, SD attended and boarded at St Wilfred’s Grade School in Woonsocket, SD and St. Mary’s High School in Salem, SD.  Joe then attended St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN for two years, and later transferred to South Dakota State University to earn a degree in Civil Engineering.  Joe worked in Sioux Falls, SD for the SD Dept. of Transportation and for the City of Sioux Falls City Engineers Office.

Joe married Audrey Ann Clark in St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Sioux Falls on May 27, 1961. In 1966, Joe was appointed as City Engineer for the City of Vermillion, SD until his retirement in 1998.  Joe and Audrey owned and operated Gillen Land Surveying until 2012. Joe served his country as a member of the South Dakota Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve for 32 years, retiring as Lt. Colonel. 

Joe was active in St. Agnes Catholic Church; building committee, eucharistic minister, Fairview Catholic Cemetery, St Peter’s Cemetery in White Lake, Vermillion Federal Credit Union Board, American Public Works Association, American Society of Civil Engineers, National Society of Professional Engineers, Society of Professional Land Surveyors, and U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Joe is survived by his wife of 58 years, Audrey Ann (Clark); his children, Jay William (Cheryl), Jeffrey Clark (Cheri), Mary Teresa (Mike) and Chad Joseph (Heidi); grandchildren, Ashley (Adam) Kenyon, Clifford Erik (Jennifer) Haines, Rebecca Gillen, Joshua Clark Gillen, Kajsa (Kyle) Myers, Cecilia Gillen, Kalle Joseph Haines, Grace Gillen, Piper Gillen, and Raina Gillen; great-grandchildren, Lilliana Kenyon, Callee Kenyon, Charlotte Kenyon, Ella Weingarten, and Clark Kenyon; and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Peter and Margaret Gillen; five brothers, James, Donald, Leo, Norbert, Peter; two infant sisters, Mary Louise and Rose Ann; and nieces and nephew, Teresa, Lynn and David.


Tuesday, November 12, 2019
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
St. Peter's Catholic Church
101 S Ellis St
White Lake, SD 57383


Tuesday, November 12, 2019
11:00 AM
St. Peter's Catholic Church
101 S Ellis St
White Lake, SD 57383


St. Peter's Catholic Cemetery
101 S Ellis St
White Lake, SD 57383

Posted by Jeff Pederson on November 12, 2019
Joe was the ultimate "servant leader" before the title became catchy. I learned a great deal from Joe, both on the job and off. I was blessed to have had the good fortune to work with him for the City, and to know him as a friend. Jeff Pederson
Posted by James W. Antonen on November 12, 2019
Joe was one of the most honest and decent men I ever met and had the pleasure to serve with. My thoughts and prayers are with the family. Jim Antonen Vermilion City Manager 1983-89.
Posted by Don & Elaine Eichacker on November 12, 2019
Our Condolences to the family. Joe and Don were classmates at St. Mary's School in Salem.
Posted by CRAIG D. SMITH on November 11, 2019
I first met Joe at SDSU and later at Vermillion when working on the planning and construction of airport projects. Joe was a special person and Civil Engineer and I always looked forward to meeting him each time regarding airport projects. He will be missed by all who knew him.
Posted by John Adams II on November 11, 2019
miss my uncle joe! always smiling and enjoying life!
Posted by Ken & Mary A know Cross on November 10, 2019
Our thoughts and prayers at the passing of your loved one.
Posted by Glenn Mannes on November 9, 2019
As an architect in Yankton, many of my projects were in Vermillion starting in 1972 extending for 50 years, which naturally meant that I worked with Joe. I never worked with a nicer man, especially a Civil Engineer (ho ho). My condolences to the family. Joe was a wonderful man!! required
Posted by Paul and Nancy Putz on November 9, 2019
Very sorry to read of Joe's passing. Please accept our condolences. We have fond memories of him.
Posted by Dick & Jan Gregory on November 9, 2019
Our deepest sympathy is extended to the family.
Posted by Tony and Paula Nelson on November 9, 2019
We are so sorry to hear about Joe. Our condolences to the family.
Posted by Dick and Marjean Barta on November 9, 2019
So sorry to hear about Joe. Please accept our condolences to the family.
Posted by Connie Waage on November 8, 2019
I am so sorry to hear about Joe. Take care.
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